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Interviews

Ali: Anis and Chris are trailblazers for young players here

Striker believes there will be the right pathway for him at Adams Park.

15 December 2021

Ali Al-Hamadi says the emergence of Anis Mehmeti and Chris Forino into the Chairboys’ first team is exactly the reason he chose Wycombe Wanderers as the club he wanted to join after departing Swansea City in the summer.

The 19-year-old Iraq international spent time on trial at a number of clubs but it was at Adams Park that he decided to put pen to paper, and after being named in the matchday squad for the first time on Saturday for the League 1 encounter with AFC Wimbledon, he said he’s excited about the opportunities that will come his way.

“It’s mad that I’ve played for the national team before getting a first-team appearance, but it was unbelievable for me to be involved in the squad on a matchday with all the fans there, and now I want to keep pushing on,” he said.

“It’s been brilliant for me since the day I joined here; I’ve never been at a club like it, and I’m not just saying that. Everyone has been good to me, there’s a great environment and culture here.

“I went to a few clubs on trial but everything happens for a reason, and I’ve landed at a club which gives the opportunities that I’m craving, and I just want to keep working hard to get into the first team as soon as I can.

“I speak to Anis and Chris a lot, and seeing what they’re doing is exactly why I came here. The club believes in youth and giving chances, and now it’s down to me to impress.”

Ali signs.jpg

A mature head on young shoulders, Al-Hamadi arrived at the club with thousands of Iraqi fans following and celebrating his progress online, but he says he doesn’t feel the weight of any expectation or pressure, and the benefit of having experienced professionals around him will only help develop his game.

“I thrive off pressure and I’ve always liked having expectations of myself, but they come from within me, not from anyone else,” he said. “It’s nice to have a big following and I’ve already played international football in a World Cup qualifier, so I’m not fazed by it.

“Honestly, I’m in dreamland here, working with two of the most experienced strikers in the top few leagues in Bayo (Akinfenwa) and Vokesy (Sam Vokes). Obviously they’ve got their own strengths and it’s a bit different from what I’m used to in the under-23s at Swansea, but they’ll help add to my game and they’ve been brilliant with me, offering advice, and I can go and chat with them.

“Blooms (Matt Bloomfield) was a big part in me coming here as well. We did a podcast together about a year ago and stayed in touch, and when he found out I was leaving Swansea he got in contact and helped me sign here.”


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