He described it as "a dream come true" when he completed his move from Linfield, but the hard work is underway for Paul Smyth.

In addition to the challenge of leaving Northern Ireland for the first time, the 20-year-old also faces an uphill battle as he looks to make his mark in professional football for the first time.

Reporters and fans in Northern Ireland are huge fans of Smyth, praising his attitude and undoubted talent, but he's making the move from semi-professional to professional; which is a huge step up.

Paul Smyth

Gone are the days of training twice a week and playing a match at the weekend. Smyth now faces the prospect of building his life around the game, and with that, no doubt, a huge step up in the attention to detail in his preparation.

While watching him for QPR under-23s against Charlton, you can see that he's a talented boy with an excellent left foot, but physically there's a long way to go.

By all accounts he's more than capable, but his slight frame is one which will no doubt be developed as he grows up, while those behind the scenes at Harlington will also play their part, as they tailor a diet and gym plan to physically prepare him for the first team at the earliest opportunity.

Grant Hall and Jordan Cousins line up for QPR under-23s against Charlton

It's a big test to see if Smyth can make the step up, but he can take heart from Ryan Manning arrived in much the same circumstances, and is now deemed to be a first team player under Ian Holloway.

That being said, it will be up to Smyth to prove that he is up to the huge challenge stepping everything up in his life to show that he is capable of making it in the professional game.