July 21, 2024

Ali Al-Hamadi, an Ipswich striker, plans to make history by moving from Plough Lane to the Premier League.

The Ipswich newcomer scored his first goal in Wednesday’s 4-0 victory over Millwall and now aspires to be the first Iraq international in the top division.

Al-Hamadi joined from AFC Wimbledon a fortnight ago and has swiftly adjusted to his new surroundings.

“I don’t think there’s ever been an Iraqi that played in the Premier League, so that’s a dream,” he added.

Al-Hamadi came off the bench at The Den, and skipper Sam Morsy gave him the ball for their last-minute penalty, which the Liverpool-born striker converted to get off the mark.

The 21-year-old earned his move for an unknown sum after scoring 17 goals for Wimbledon in the first half of the season, and Ipswich’s success over the Lions kept their automatic promotion hopes alive.

Following a record of only one win in nine games, which saw them overtaken by Leeds and Southampton, the Tractor Boys stand fourth, three points behind the Whites.

Al-Hamadi stated he chose Ipswich for his move because it is a growing club with a manager like Kieran McKenna who can help him achieve his aim of playing in the Premier League.

Burnley center back Ameen Al-Dakhil recently became the first Iraqi-born player to score in the Premier League, yet he has chosen to play international football for his adopted country, Belgium.

Al-Hamadi, who relocated to Liverpool with his family as a one-year-old to escape the Iraq War in 2003, has 12 caps and three goals for his country and is now hopeful that Ipswich can help him realise a childhood dream.

“It’s a club with amazing stability right now, and everything is going in the right direction,” he told BBC Radio Suffolk. “I would love to play in the Premier League with Ipswich; it has always been a goal of mine as a player.

“I don’t want to dwell too much on these issues. What has brought me here so far is being determined and focussed, and working hard, and that’s what I’ll keep doing.”

 

Ali Al-Hamadi says joining Ipswich Town is "exciting" | News - Greatest  Hits Radio (Ipswich & Suffolk)

 

Ipswich was ‘the perfect fit’

Al-Hamadi says the appeal of working with McKenna drew him away from Wimbledon, saying: “For me, it had to be the perfect place, and Ipswich is a wonderful club right now, on an upwards trajectory with an amazing manager who’s not just here to win games, but to grow players.

“For me, being a young player, that’s what drew me to Ipswich; it’s a great fit.

“I enjoy football; to be honest, it might be difficult for me to switch off at times, and the boss has a similar personality. He works with such detail and intensity. It keeps you working, keeps you on your toes and as a young player these years are crucial to keep up on my game.”

His first three games for Town were as a replacement, and he recalls a particular occasion when Morsy persuaded regular penalty taker Conor Chaplin to pass the ball to him in injury time at The Den.

“A penalty taker is a penalty taker, but the skipper helped me out by saying, ‘Give it to him, let him get his first goal,’ so you have to make sure you score. Chappers is a nice person who was excited for me afterwards.

“That’s precisely how you imagine scoring your first goal, in front of a packed away end. “I am buzzing.”

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