Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Alireza Jahanbakhsh believes that his initial decision to join AZ Alkmaar back in 2015 has proved to be the correct one for the development of his career.
The Iranian opted to stay in Holland at the age of 21 before making the switch to the Seagulls in the summer of 2018 instead, and he says that his subsequent career path has justified the choice.
He said, "The impression I got from Brighton has always been really good. When I came here [first] the team was in the Championship at that time and I was just 21.
"At that time, I decided to stay in Holland, because I was just getting used to the new competition. I came all the way from Iran to Europe and after two years it was probably a bit early to move somewhere else.
"When I came [to visit Albion], the training complex was quite new, I'd seen the stadium and facilities. It really impressed me and in the last couple of years I've always been talking with friends, saying that if I get the opportunity again to go to Brighton, I would go for it.
“It then happened with the good season I had [at Alkmaar] and Brighton got promoted to the Premier League, so it was good timing for me to move here.
"It wasn't an easy decision because moving is always difficult, especially from country to country, but I was ready for this move and I am really happy with this decision."
The wideman revealed last week that he has a set routine before each contest – and he spoke about his rituals before taking to the field ahead of this afternoon’s game with Southampton at the Amex Stadium.
"The praying I do is something personal, everyone has their own thing before games that just gives them more concentration when getting ready.
"That's one of the things, it just gives me more peace, gets me relaxed and gets me away from stress and everything before the game.
"Since I started football I've always been doing that, and it's always been helpful. Religion has always been important for me - I'm not really a strict Muslim, I just try to keep in the rules, and be a good person by helping my family and other people.
"I think everything ends up with being a good person. As long as you are helping people,and looking after everyone who is important to you, then that is what counts."
Jahanbakhsh’s country celebrated Nowruz last week – Persian New Year, and the midfielder spoke of the reasoning behind Iran celebrating this towards the end of March, whilst also looking ahead to what he hopes will be a successful week for the Seagulls.
“We believe the beginning of Spring when everything grows is the start of the year and we end the year with winter.
“The tradition is quite the same apart from that and for two weeks people are having fun, having parties and all the family comes together - maybe some things are different but it’s similar to Christmas in England.
“This is the first game of the New Year for me - since I came to Europe I’ve always had two New Years and I get to wish the same things twice, so if Christmas to Iranian New Year didn’t go well at least I can start all over again!
“If we could win two games in the Premier League and reach an FA Cup Final in the first week of the New Year then all my wishes will be coming true! That would be amazing and that’s why I’m looking forward to it, but even if wasn’t the New year, I would wish for the same.”