From Sweden to Sutton: Kieron Cadogan still aiming high

While overseas players are all too happy to chance their arm on these shores, not too many of their British counterparts make the opposite journey. Kieron Cadogan is an exception.

The 27-year-old currently plays for Sutton, signing for them in February this year following three years at second-tier Swedish outfit GAIS.

Having come through the academy at Crystal Palace, he spent four years in the first-team ranks at the Eagles, before moves to Aldershot and Barnet followed in quick succession.

It was at The Hive where he became disillusioned with the intensely physical nature of the game in England and wanted to try his luck elsewhere. Moving to Sweden in August 2014 was uncertainly uncharted territory.

“At the time I left Barnet, it was more of a leap of faith as Sweden’s transfer window was closing in the next few days,” Cadogan said.

“Initially I signed for just three months until the end of their season, which finishes in November. I really enjoyed it, so ended up signing a two-year deal.”

The change in lifestyle certainly brought some challenges for the man from Tooting.

“The language is very hard, but the club gave us a teacher to teach us the language, so it wasn’t too difficult.

“People wanted to practise their English with you, whereas I wanted to practise my Swedish, so there was a conflict of interest.”

His time in Scandinavia had been enjoyable, but Cadogan wanted to prove that he was up to the physical demands of English football.

“I felt I needed a new challenge and felt I had left Barnet a bit early. [The physicality] was a part of my game I really wanted to come back and conquer. I thought ‘let me give that another go’.”

Sutton were always on Cadogan’s radar and it was a series of conversations with Craig Eastmond that tempted him to relocate to Gander Green Lane, although the former Arsenal midfielder could quite easily have ended up in Sweden himself.

“Before Craig signed for Sutton, we were having a conversation and he had the choice of coming to GAIS or signing for Sutton.

“I was giving him the pros of coming abroad and he had just had a little girl, so decided to stay in England.

“From that conversation, we always stayed in touch and I was asking him how it was there. He only had good things to say about the club.”

This weekend sees Sutton travel to League Two side Cambridge United in the FA Cup having disposed of Paulton Rovers in the final qualifying round, a game in which Cadogan scored twice.

The former Fulham youth player was not part of last season’s dizzying run to the fifth round, but hopes to replicate that success as well as mounting a promotion charge.

“Of course, with the FA Cup run they had last year, I was following them while they were on that journey.

“You always get that dream of playing a big team, like Sutton with Arsenal last season, so it’s always a positive for the lower teams playing to really show what they’re about.

“We have a really good squad and if we just believe in ourselves, something good can happen this season.”

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