Giuseppe Bellusci says he has found home away from home in England, claiming last night that he had “never felt as comfortable as I do on an English field.”
The Italian centre-back reflected on an eventful start to his career at Leeds United and predicted that he had numerous years ahead of him in this country, two months after joining United on a permanent basis from Catania.
Leeds paid around £1.6m to turn his season-long loan into a full-time transfer less than four weeks after securing Bellusci from Italy, tying the defender to a four-year contract in a firm vote of confidence from owner Massimo Cellino.
The switch was Bellusci’s first move abroad, eight years after he turned professional, but he has made waves with Leeds already, receiving a red card on his debut before recovering quickly to contribute to an improved sequence of results in the second month of the Championship season.
Bellusci said two months of competitive football had convinced him that the peak of his career would be best served by a long spell in England, and he admitted that he would opt for a chance in the Premier League over a return to Serie A after adapting to life in Leeds quickly.
Bellusci said: “Someone asked me what has to happen for an Italian club to take me back to Serie A and I replied ‘they shouldn’t have sent me here!’
“I have no (problem) with anyone and I don’t say I’ll stay here all my life. But I’ve never felt as comfortable as I do on an English field.”
The 25-year-old has scored twice already for Leeds this season, helping to earn a 3-1 win at Bournemouth and securing a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday before the international break.
Leeds will pick up their campaign with another Yorkshire derby at Rotherham United tomorrow night, lying 14th in the table.
Cellino, who bought a controlling stake in United in April, has targeted promotion at the end of the 2015-16 term but Bellusci said he came to Elland Road with the hope of more rapid progress to the Premier League.
“I was optimistic at a club led by president Cellino, with a historic (place) in English football,” Bellusci said.