WANDERER; from Hampden to Poznan, Douglas Has Tasted Domestic Success in Poland and Turkey. after Sampling Various Cultures, He's Ready for Premier League Life as A

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), December 3, 2017 | Go to article overview

WANDERER; from Hampden to Poznan, Douglas Has Tasted Domestic Success in Poland and Turkey. after Sampling Various Cultures, He's Ready for Premier League Life as A


Byline: Fraser Mackie

HERE'S a puzzle for the next Scotland manager. You've been shown a solution for shoehorning Kieran Tierney and Andrew Robertson into the same team by predecessors moving the Celtic sensation to central defence or the right. But where can you shift Andrew Robertson to accommodate Barry Douglas?

Ridiculous riches at left-back are becoming more outlandish with every passing week Douglas stars for the most exciting team seen in the English Championship for many seasons.

Wolverhampton Wanderers are powering towards the Premier League with the swashbuckling 28-year-old, scorer of one of the free-kicks of the year ten days ago against Leeds United, a vital part of Portuguese coach Nuno Espirito Santo's thrilling outfit.

Take a look at their goals on the run of eight league wins in nine games that has lifted Wolves to the summit. Douglas is probably there assisting or spectacularly scoring, just as he did in front of his 83-year-old grandpa with that goal-of-the-season candidate at Molineux.

That marked a special moment for the wing-back. Family and home comforts have not been close-at-hand support structures since the spring of 2013.

That's when Douglas made a decision to leave Dundee United for Poland, the start of a life-changing and enriching career switch taking in Poznan then, two and a half years later, Konya - Turkey's most Islamic city.

Moving from one foreign club to another is such a rarity for a Scottish footballer that it really should be sufficient to warrant a Barry Douglas Exhibition in Hampden's Scottish Football Museum in years to come. How apt that when he did return to British football, he did so as a Wanderer.

'It was never my intention to come back to the UK,' says Douglas at Wolverhampton's training centre. 'I enjoyed being abroad, enjoyed the sun in Turkey and the life experience of different countries. But when Wolves came about, it was such an interesting project and an exciting time to be part of it.

'I think it was time to move from Turkey regardless of whether it was to the UK or elsewhere. We'd kind of peaked. Konyaspor finished an unheard of third in the league and won a Cup. I said to myself, my agent and missus (Debbie) that the only way would be down after that. So it was a good time to venture on to something new, explore different challenges.'

The former Queen's Park kid has proven to be a master of timing his exit. His shrewd call to reject a new Tannadice contract four-and-a-half years ago was the start of the adventure. Douglas could, over the course, have grabbed a good contract with a middle rank Championship or ambitious League One club that summer. It's what players of his profile do. Some return back across the border six months later.

'When I think back, it was a big decision,' he recalled. 'It took a lot of thought to go away. There was interest down south. That's normally where players in my situation want to go. But, once I had the interest from Poland, I spoke to a few people.

'Our goalkeeper (Radoslaw Cierzniak) at United encouraged me to go see Lech Poznan. I went with my missus and agent and was shocked by how good the facilities were. At that point I really thought: "This is for me".

'When you think about it, life could have gone the other way. I've seen some guys I played with back then playing lower leagues. Some are out of the game. It's a tough industry.

I think that's why I'm so open to looking at every opportunity going, exploring them and making the most of it.' Douglas went on to win the title in his second season with Poznan, play Champions League qualifiers and lift a Polish SuperCup but, naturally, there were professional and personal challenges to overcome before becoming a crowd favourite at the frenzied 43,000-seater Miejski Stadium.

'I think if I'd gone alone it would have been much more difficult,' he admits. …

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