Ali Al-Hamadi embracing opportunity to lead U23s line
Ali Al-Hamadi has enjoyed the opportunity to operate in his preferred role as a number nine for Swansea City Under-23s in recent weeks.
A centre forward by trade, Al-Hamadi has also been utilised as a winger and number 10 by the Swans’ age-grade sides since his arrival from Tranmere Rovers in the summer of 2018.
After missing the best part of four months with a pars fracture to his lower back, the Iraqi-born forward marked his second game since returning with an impressive hat-trick in the under-23s’ 4-3 win over Charlton Athletic at the end of February.
The 19-year-old subsequently operated as the focal point of the development side’s attack in each of their next three outings against Millwall, Ipswich and Watford.
Although on target in the 1-1 draw with Ipswich earlier this month, Al-Hamadi was disappointed not to add to his tally after a string of smart saves denied him.
Nevertheless, he has continued to provide a valuable contribution to Kris O’Leary’s side in other ways; demonstrating good strength to hold up the ball, while bringing his team-mates into play with neat touches.
“By nature, I am a number nine, and it’s nice to be the focal point of the team,” Al-Hamadi said.
“I’ll play wherever the manager tells me to.
“Over the past few seasons, I’ve shown I can play out wide or just behind the striker.
“But my preferred position is to play as a striker, and I’ve been enjoying it.
“Obviously when you play up front, you’re closer to the goal as well, so you have a lot more opportunities to score."