Off to Iceland
Sky Sports meets up with former QPR youngster Bradley Simmonds to discuss his move to Iceland.
By Tim Oscroft & Pete O'Rourke
Last Updated: 23/05/13 3:03pm
Former QPR starlet Bradley Simmonds has chosen an unlikely footballing outpost for the next phase of his career.
While some English players are making the most of their summer downtime with lavish overseas holidays, the youngster is plying his trade in IBV in Iceland alongside former England international David James.
Ibrottabandalag Vestmannaeyja - to give them their full name - are managed by James' former Portsmouth team-mate Hermann Hreidarsson, who started his playing career with IBV, and can be found in Heimaey, some 70 miles to the south-east of Iceland's capital Reykjavic.
Midfielder Simmonds is a product of QPR's youth system, but he chose to look abroad to further his career following loan spells with non-league clubs Staines and Woking during last season.
Even though only a few weeks have passed since his move, Simmonds has no doubt he was right to swap the bright lights of London for the windswept surroundings of an Icelandic archipelago.
"I enjoyed my time developing as a player at QPR but I have no regrets about leaving," Simmonds declares.
"Every player wants to be playing first team football in front of passionate supporters, for three points every week and at 19 it was important for me to make the step up to first team football, gaining valuable experience rather than reserve football."
IBV are currently fourth in Iceland's top flight, the Urvalsdeild, after four games and Simmonds is pleasantly surprised with the quality of football he has encountered.
"Playing in the top national league compared to a reserve league is a big difference; it's a lot more competitive and physical, which I am relishing. The football back in England is perhaps a little quicker but there are some very good players out here with a lot of quality.
"Having high profiles players such as Jamo [James] coming over to Icelandic football shows the quality of it. The possibility of Phil Neville coming out here to play has been mentioned, if that was the case it wouldn't surprise me."
Simmonds is sharing a house with the well-travelled and famously eccentric James, whose last job in England, at Bournemouth, ended by mutual consent in April.
"I pick his brain all the time about football," Simmonds admits, "but also it's great for me to observe his professionalism and living habits away from the pitch which has enabled him to be such a top professional for so long.
"A conversation with Jamo is never boring - as you can imagine he has some great stories."
But despite his footballing journey having headed into relatively uncharted waters, Simmonds is convinced that he can use his self-imposed Icelandic exile to fuel his ambitions to play in the Premier League one day.
"My goal firstly is to enjoy my football and improve as a player and currently I'm achieving that. I feel like I'm in the right place, learning from the right people to carry on improving enabling me to reach my goals.
"Every English boy's dream is to play in the Premier League and that's no different for me. My career with IBV is just starting and is going well so that is all I'm concentrating on at the moment but if I do well here who knows where it could take me?"