After years of uncertainty and loan spells, Jordan Houghton believes his permanent switch to MK Dons will help bring out his best as a player.
The former Chelsea academy product left Stamford Bridge in the summer, without making an appearance for them in his four years at the club.
Loan spells at Gillingham, Plymouth and two seasons at Doncaster most recently have seen the 22-year-old rack up nearly 100 EFL appearances during those spells.
After turning down a permanent switch to Doncaster last January, Houghton chose Dons in the summer after his release from Chelsea, and now feels his time out on loan has given him an advantage over other players his age.
“It was a good platform for me to go out on loan, but it had negatives too,” Houghton said.
“I didn’t know where I was going to be every six months. It will be nice to know I will be here for two years, I can stake my place in the team hopefully.
“Looking back, I must have nearly 100 games in me and I’m 22-years-old.
“I know the loan system get criticised but for me, it has been perfect to go out and get games.
“I’ve got a new home now and I’ve got the experience while others my age don’t.
“I’ve gone through the experience of being at Doncaster when we got relegated and then when we had to get back up and the pressure involved. And it will be the same here. Hopefully I can replicate that.”
Houghton’s role in the side is not one likely to steal the headlines very often.
Describing himself as a ‘behind the ball’ player playing just in front of the defence, Houghton was deployed to break-up play at Doncaster, and has been told by manager Paul Tisdale to do a similar job at Stadium MK.
He said: “I’ve been more of a holding midfielder in the last few years at Doncaster.
“The manager wants to play me as a ‘behind the ball’ player, someone who will break up play and get things ticking for us.
“I like to put my foot in, but if the manager wants me to get up and down the pitch, I can do that too.
“I felt good, hopefully we can get close to 90 or at least close soon. I came in over a week late compared to the other boys so it has been tough to keep up with them but I’m slowly getting there.
“That sharpness is still a little bit off but I’ll be ready for the start of the season.”