Louise Quinn admits that the decision to move to Italy was a “scary” one but the defender is confident that the move to the land where defence has traditionally been king can help her improve her game while standing to the Republic of Ireland as well.
The Wicklow native parted company with Arsenal after three years earlier this year but has now joined up with Fiorentina who, as things stand in terms of Covid-19 and everything else, are due to begin their domestic league campaign later this month.
“Again, it was one of those really scary decisions to make and go for it. Put myself out of my comfort zone to try and make myself better here. Football in Italy is known for its defending and that's what I want to be known for.
That's all I can ask myself. I feel sometimes that I don't enjoy the challenges but I keep going back for them so I must do.”
She is already taken with the beauty of the city that is now home and the squad has been welcoming. Formal Italian lessons start soon and she is at a club that wants to be at the vanguard in Italian football's push to instigate a professional women's game.
It's a brand new challenge for the 30-year in a career that started at Peamount United, took in a successful spell in Sweden with Eskilstuna United, a short-lived venture at Notts County and then the spell with the Gunners with whom she won a WSL title and a Conti Cup.
“Brilliant club, brilliant coaches, the squad that they had there: I had the pleasure of playing with some of the best players in Europe and the world and it was maybe just coming to that stage.
"I didn't play as much this season. You have to accept that and move on.
“For me my time at Arsenal was just brilliant. It's made me a better player and a better person, seeing football in a different light, trying to adapt my playing style to an Arsenal playing style. That was just a pleasure. Good times really.”
One constant in her career has been her importance to Ireland with whom she has now won 79 caps, combining a defensive solidity with a not-too-shabby tally of eleven goals, and she has this week been named as Ireland's women's player of the year.
This is her second time to be so honoured, seven years after the first. She is now one behind Niamh Fahey in that list and she was suitably humbled to get the nod ahead of teammates of the calibre of Katie McCabe and Denise O'Sullivan.
The hope is that Quinn will have a few club games under her belt by the time she links up with Vera Pauw's Ireland squad who are pushing to qualify for the 2021 European Championships and what would be the Irish women's team's first ever major tournament.
Ireland currently sit top of their table with 13 points through five games. Germany lie second with 12 after four and the teams are down to meet twice, over there on September 19 and in Tallaght on December 1. Ireland also have a trip to Ukraine to take in October.
It is a set of circumstances that few would have bet on when Colin Bell stepped down from his role as manager last June to accept a role with Huddersfield Town but Pauw and her team are reading off the same script and profiting accordingly.
“We have proven it and we are getting the results that we want," she told FAI TV. "We know as well that there is massive room for improvement. In games we are creating more chances now but now is the time to put them away quicker. We're sometimes leaving things a bit late and on edge.
“If you look at the attacking players we have as well, Rianna Jarrett has been on fire. It's just building on that and tidying things up again defensively. We've had a few shaky times as well. It's on us. When there is room to improve you have got to stay positive there.
“Yeah, Germany is really daunting but we have to try and build on the momentum from the last day (away to Montenegro) in March and just keep going. We've put ourselves in the best position and it feels great so let's just keep going.”
Meanwhile, Troy Parrott's cheeky, chipped finish for the Ireland U21s away to Sweden has been named as Three FAI goal of the year.
Lee O'Connor's effort against Sweden for the same side and Conor Hourihane's free-kick against Georgia at the Aviva were the others to make a shortlist of three from an extensive list covering various grades across the male and female games.