SUTTON United to Singapore is not what you would call a well-trodden path.

For Charlie Clough, however, it represented the chance to play in a different league, experience a new culture and fulfil a lifelong ambition of playing abroad.

The Taunton-born centre-half, who played in the Football League with Barnet for 18 months from January 2017, was midway through a National League season with Sutton when the opportunity arose to trial with Singapore Premier League outfit DPMM FC.

Managed by his old Forest Green Rovers boss Adey Pennock, Brunei-based DPMM wanted to make Clough one of their three permitted overseas players - and he made an instant impression.

“Most players trial for two weeks but I had five days as I had to fit it in between matches for Sutton,” Clough told the County Gazette.

“The Crown Prince owns the club and watches all the training sessions from a special room - he gets an escort in, you hear the sirens when he arrives - and he liked me straight away.

“I was fortunate. I was in a two-year contract at Sutton and they could easily have said ‘no, you’re not going’, but I am good friends with the manager [Paul Doswell] and he understood my wish to have a new challenge.

“It was a no-brainer for me. I have always wanted to play abroad and I had been around lower league and non-league football for 10 years. I’m 28 now and I wanted a fresh start.”

Having begun to adjust to the climate during a two-month pre-season, Clough made his DPMM debut in a 1-0 win over Home United on Sunday, picking up the man of the match award in the process.

“The standard was better than I expected,” said the former Heathfield Academy pupil.

“Technically, players from Brunei are very gifted - some of the more talented ones could play in League Two - but they struggle physically.

“I have to adapt to that. Things that wouldn’t be a foul in England are fouls over here.”

That is not Clough’s only gripe with the officials - “I scored on my debut but it was ruled out even though I was two yards onside!” - but he is more positive in relation to his new team’s chances of success.

“I think we are good enough to win the league,” Clough said.

“We have a strong squad here. Our other two overseas players are an Australian midfielder [Blake Ricciuto] and a Belarusian striker [Andrey Varankow] who played against Brazil at the London Olympics, and we have some good local players.

“Our home games are at the National Stadium and, when we are doing well, crowds can get up to 10 or 12,000.”

The Brunei lifestyle is also proving to Clough’s taste.

“Having lived in London when I was at Barnet and Sutton, which was so hectic, it’s great to be somewhere more chilled out,” he said.

“I want to travel while I’m out here and see the Philippines, Bali, Thailand, and just make the most of the opportunities.”

An added bonus, meanwhile, is that his family back in Taunton can keep track of his matches with a minimum of fuss.

“My Mum, Dad and brother [former Taunton Town player James Clough] watched Sunday’s game on an app,” Clough said.

“I was interviewed on TV after getting man of the match so they saw that, which was nice.

“My family and friends are hoping to make it over at some point during the season.”

As for the future, Clough is aiming to capitalise on any opportunities which come his way.

“It opens up a whole new network being out here,” he said.

“Obviously, my first goal is to play well enough to earn a new contract as I’m on a one-year deal.

“There are other Asian leagues I’d love to play in - the Malaysian, Indonesian and Thai leagues are strong - but at the moment I’m just loving being here.”