Aleksandar Mitrovic interview: Finding happiness at Fulham, breaking records for Serbia and promotion hopes

Watch Swansea vs Fulham live on Sky Sports Football from 7pm on Friday night; Kick-off is at 7.45pm.

Generally, around this time of year, Championship clubs start to feel a little nervous. The period just before January is when struggling Premier League clubs start to look around for players that may well bolster their hopes of survival.

Fulham, however, have no need to worry. A couple of minutes in the company of Aleksandar Mitrovic at their Motspur Park training ground in south-west London and you know he's going nowhere. There were opportunities for him to leave in the summer after the club were relegated, but the Serb was quick to sign a new contract.

"It was easy," Mitrovic tells Sky Sports of his decision to commit his future to Craven Cottage until 2024. "I love this club and the people who work here. Everyone and everything here makes my family happy and I feel at home here.

"On the pitch I am playing games and scoring goals, which is why I play football. I found my happiness here."

Image: Mitrovic speaking to Sky Sports at Fulham's Motspur Park training ground in south-west London

It took a while for Mitrovic to find his true home in England. He was always adored by the Newcastle fans for his passion, having arrived there from Belgian club Anderlecht in 2015, but never had the smoothest of times on the pitch.

Since joining Fulham in 2018, initially on loan, he has matured and grown as a player and a person. So far he has netted 36 goals in 76 games in all competitions, including 13 in the Championship so far this campaign.

"I came from Belgium to England to the best league in the world," Mitrovic remembers. "It wasn't an easy beginning and it was tough to adapt. The Premier League is so physical and I was a young boy, I didn't expect it and I needed time to settle.

Also See:

Aleksandar Mitrovic of Fulham wins the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month award for October 2019 - Mandatory by-line: Patrick Khachfe/JMP - 06/11/2019 - FOOTBALL - Fulham FC Training Ground - London, England - Sky Bet Player of the Month Award
Image: Mitrovic was the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for October

"I had a good first season with Newcastle but then I hit some bad moments. I didn't play a lot, so I came here to Fulham and started playing more and scoring goals.

"I was on the pitch and that is why I am so happy here, they know how to play me and it's a club who really want me. There are people around me who love me and that's what makes me happy. That's why I decided to stay."

Mitrovic's form for Fulham has also transferred to his performances for Serbia. He is closing in on becoming the top scorer in the nation's history, having netted 34 times so far in just 55 caps. He needs five more to overtake Stjepan Bobek at the top of the rankings.

Aleksandar Mitrovic celebrates his strike as Serbia beat Luxembourg on Thursday
Image: Mitrovic is close to breaking Serbia's goalscoring record

Live EFL

Serbia could certainly do with a few of those in March as they tackle the qualifying play-offs for Euro 2020. They need to win in Norway and then face either Scotland or Israel for a place in the finals next summer.

At a time when the international game seems a waning priority for many, Mitrovic's attitude to playing for Serbia is extremely refreshing. He initially joined Fulham on loan in 2018 to ensure he was in good condition for the World Cup, and it is his dream to help them get to another major tournament.

"It would be the biggest thing in my career," he said of potentially becoming Serbia's top scorer in the near future. "I am always really proud to play for my country and to wear the shirt is the biggest honour, so to break that record would make my family and everyone around me proud.

"I look forward to every game with the national team. It was my dream as a kid and now it's unbelievable that I'm really close to achieving something in Serbian football history. There are some really big players and some really big names in the football world on that list and I will be next to them. I will just keep working to score more goals."

preview image 1:46
Highlights from the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and Derby.

And Mitrovic hopes that he will be playing for Serbia at Euro 2020 as a Premier League player once again with Fulham.

"That's why I stayed because I think I can help this team," he said. "My job is to score goals and in every game I try to do my job. I hope I can help the team to get promoted. Automatic promotion is what we are aiming for and at the end I hope we will be there. I'm sure as the season goes on we will get better and better.

"It's a really hard league against teams who work really hard. I think it's the best second league in the world for sure, it's really exciting to play in and to watch and enjoy. In the Championship we have more possession, we create more chances than in the Premier League and we are more dominant.

"It's still the early part of the season but with the quality of the team and manager we have, I'm sure we will be back in the Premier League next season."

Soccer Saturday Super 6

Soccer Saturday Super 6

FREE TO PLAY: Do not miss your chance to land the £250,000 jackpot for the fifth time this year.

Around Sky