Jet-setting Futacs finally found his home

Marko Futacs battles for the ball with Chelsea's John Terry
Marko Futacs battles for the ball with Chelsea's John Terry
Conor Chaplin could start againsyt Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey v Plymouth: pre-match talking points

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It took five years and three countries, now Marko Futacs has finally found his goal.

For the towering striker, England represents the footballing spiritual home he long craved.

The journey was an eventful one, taking in his native Hungary, France and Germany.

But the English game was always his dream destination – a stage on which he had long felt he could flourish.

Standing at 6ft 5in tall, as a blossoming young footballer Futacs had been regularly told he was perfectly designed to play in this country.

He arrived on trial at Pompey in August and subsequently earned himself a 12-month contract after a week training with then manager Steve Cotterill’s squad.

Since then, the 21-year-old has established himself in the first team under new Blues boss Michael Appleton.

With two goals from four starts – and some impressive all-round displays – he is rapidly metamorphosing into a key player.

And for Futacs, it is a destiny he was always fated to reach.

He said: ‘I had to come to England. Some coaches in Hungary and friends told me it would be a good decision to come here.

‘I was in France and then Germany and I did well – but I had to come to England because it is my style. That is how I play.

‘I came here for one week’s training. We had one friendly game, I scored, fitted in, felt good and signed.

‘In Germany, there is not so much the long ball, it is more about passes.

‘In Hungary, they play the same way, only slower.

‘Here it is faster. My team-mates want to find the striker earlier and that is good because I am in the game a lot more. It’s good they want to use me.

‘The other week I played against John Terry and I can tell you, in Germany, it wasn’t that physical.

‘Here, there is always the long ball to the striker and you have to battle with the central defender.

‘But I think it’s good. I like to fight.

‘It was the first time I have played against someone like him. He is my most difficult opponent.

‘He’s really clever, a clever player. He was trying to do things to me, trying to put me off all the time with his hands.

‘He was tugging me and pulling but I had already seen that in some Championship games this season.

‘I didn’t care what he was doing. I am always just going to play my game.’

The Hungary under-21 international is rapidly establishing himself as a Fratton favourite.

Having settled into accommodation at Gunwharf, he has embraced the city whose football club he represents.

The lad from Budapest speaks four languages, such has been his willingness to integrate into the countries he has lived in.

After leaving Hungary as a 16-year-old he joined Nancy and spent two years there before signing for Werder Bremen in 2009.

Last season he was on loan at FC Ingolstadt 04 before being handed a free transfer by his parent club in the summer.

Now he is at Pompey – a stay which has this week been extended by a year after Appleton took up an option in Futacs’ contract.

And the youngster is loving the experience.

He added: ‘I wanted always to play somewhere else, so I left Hungary when I was 16 and joined Nancy in France.

‘I think the most important part of my life was there in France because I learned so much.

‘Physically, I was good. There was much running and everything was together.

‘I lived together with the guys so it was like the language was easier to learn.

‘I was always inside and football always around me.

‘If we wanted to go out, we couldn’t because it was too far away.

‘It was a case of “let’s just go and play and play one-on-one”. So it was really nice.

‘I was there for two-and-a-half years and played with the second team, as well as having some training with the first team.

‘They wanted to sign me professionally but not with good conditions, so I went to Werder Bremen and signed professional there.

‘Then last year I went to the second division in Germany on loan. It was good to learn.

‘But I was never happy like I am now – and I’m so glad I came to England and Portsmouth.’