Ivor Pandur on learning at Hull City after doing his Championship homework

IVOR PANDUR is at Hull City to learn, but the Croatian goalkeeper has not arrived without doing his homework.

The 23-year-old joined from Fortuna Sittard in January already well versed in the Championship football he has been watching from the sidelines, waiting for his chance to come.

Croatia has had its fair share of Premier League stars, from Slaven Bilic, Igor Stimac and Davor Suker in the 1990s to Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic more recently.

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But Pandur's huge love of watching football and his relationship with former Luton Town goalkeeper Simon Sluga meant he knew what he was letting himself in for.

"Everybody wants to play in the Premier League but for years I understood how competitive the Championship was because a couple of Croatians played in this league, including a player (Sluga) who was with me in Rejka," he says.

"Everybody was speaking about how nice it was to play every two or three days, how competitive it is. You want that pressure because that's what makes you grow.

"For the last couple of years I really wanted to come to the Championship.

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"I love football so I watched a lot of games – maybe not all of them in the Championship but the bigger games, let's say.

LEARNING: Hull City goalkeeper Ivor PandurLEARNING: Hull City goalkeeper Ivor Pandur
LEARNING: Hull City goalkeeper Ivor Pandur

"I followed the results all the time and there was something really interesting. When you think about it, you have 20,000, 30,000 people every couple of days cheering for or against you and that's beautiful."

He stepped up his homework when interest from the Tigers failed to materialise in the summer.

"There was interest from Hull City in the summer and when I heard about it I was really excited because I always wanted to play in the Championship so the opportunity was amazing for me," he says.

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POINTING THE WAY: Ivor Pandur learnt about English football partly from former Luton Town goalkeeper Simon SlugaPOINTING THE WAY: Ivor Pandur learnt about English football partly from former Luton Town goalkeeper Simon Sluga
POINTING THE WAY: Ivor Pandur learnt about English football partly from former Luton Town goalkeeper Simon Sluga

"Even in the summer I was keen to go but some things didn't work out so I decided to stay (at Fortuna Sittard), stayed half a season and Hull were still interested.

"The way they explained the project and everything to me, I wanted to go and play on the bigger stage.

"I was following the games, maybe not all of them. At the beginning yes, but then I had to focus on Fortuna. Once the break started and the talks became advanced, I started to be a fan.

"I just knew the way they played at first but once I heard about their interest I started to look more through apps like WyScout and you could see all the details.

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"It gave me the feeling that I really wanted to test myself."

Even so, his time in Hull and particularly this week in the Turkish resort of Antalya have been an eye-opener.

If seeing players of the quality of Jaden Philogene, Ozan Tufan and Tyler Morton plying their trade in the Championship – he is yet to see the injured Liam Delap - the way Hull are being treated on their mid-season training camp is Premier League standard and then some.

The Regnum Carya hotel, with its incredible everything-under-one-roof facilities which include three football pitches and a golf course Pandur gave a swerve to on Tuesday, is something else and bringing 50 supporters and their friends along at the club’s expense has highlighted the passion of English football. They will be at an open training session to see the team's final preparations for Thursday's friendly against the Curacao national team, which they will also attend.

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The Yorkshire Post was fortunate to see Tuesday's session too, with large sections of the pitch left untouched so Liam Rosenior's players could work on playing the ball in tight areas as he tried to hammer home the need for them to work the ball into the right positions to deliver for a team which lacks little in technique but plenty in height.

As Rosenior explained to his players, "our game's about details" and about passing.

That stretches even to the goalkeepers who, as is the modern way, are expected to be good with their feet. As Pandur hammered balls downfield to him, Hull's first-choice goalkeeper Ryan Allsop showed a first touch plenty of Championship strikers would be proud of.

You could also hear how much he orders his players around.

"It's so important, especially for the defensive line, to let them know what is close to them and where they should be," he says. "I see the pitch the best because I have everything in front of me so I have to take advantage of it."

Pandur started life as a striker and it is helping now.

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"It played a massive role in why I joined this team, because they want to play football," he says. "It's not typical for the Championship, where a lot of teams are kicking balls and playing aggressively.

"But we try to play football. It can only make you better.

"I know I am in a good place."

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