Sereyo Bekkink is a law student, football fan and journalist. He has a keen eye for talent and writes about them in the dutch language on his website Tempohopper . Here on TPA you will find the english version of these articles
This weeks U21 talent:
Name: Eyad Hammoud
Age: 17 (24 july 2001)
Position: Striker / Attacking midfielder
Height: 1,65 m
Feet : Both (slight preference for right)
He made his debut in professional football with an assist in the Plovdiv derby when he was 15 years old. After trials at various Premier League clubs, including Arsenal, he chose for the youth academy of Sheffield Wednesday. In October 2018, The Guardian named him as one of the biggest 60 talents in the world. For this article, I contacted Eyad Hammoud, player of Sheffield Wednesday U18 and Bulgarian youth international.
When I ask Eyad Hammoud at what age he started playing football he answers:
“I started playing football with my friends when I was 5 and I joined my first team Lokomotiv Plovdiv at the age of 8. At Lokomotiv Plovdiv, I learned a lot from my coaches in Bulgaria. When you are young, it is important to have some good basis.”
After 7 years of hard work in the youth academy of Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Hammoud gets included at the first team practice when he’s 15. After just 2 weeks of training with the first team, Hammoud makes his debut. And not in just a game. At 20 November 2016, Hammoud starts in the first eleven in the Plovdiv derby against Botev Plovdiv. When I ask how he experienced that day Hammoud says that it was an amazing experience to make his debut with an assist in the Plovdiv derby:
“The City derby is the most important game of the season at Plovdiv, the atmosphere is more 'electric'. I was very excited and motivated when I knew I was going playing. It was an excellent moment for me and I will always remember it."
Just a few months after his debut, Hammoud got scouted by Sheffield Wednesday. Despite trials at various Premier League teams, including Arsenal, Hammoud chose to join the youth academy of Sheffield Wednesday, that plays at the 2nd level in England. Hammoud told me about his choice:
“I did some trials and I had different requests from clubs but, for me, the most important was the sports project to continue my improvement and to feel that 'my' new club really wanted me. All the conditions were met at Sheffield Wednesday FC and I am happy I took the decision to join "The Owls.”
Moving abroad as a talent of 15/16 years old is a big step, and some talents can’t adjust properly to the new circumstance and stop developing. This wasn’t the case for Hammoud, part of the reason that this did not happen was his mentality and the guidance Sheffield Wednesday offered:
“I’ve always wanted to play abroad and when I had the opportunity I didn’t think twice. In the beginning, it was hard for me to adapt to a different culture, a new environment, a new language (even though I already spoke a bit English when I arrived at Sheffield) but Sheffield Wednesday FC helped me and support me through this period. They gave me time to adapt without any pressure and now I am feeling great."
Apart from his life as football player, Hammoud is also just a 17 year old boy. He likes to spend his free time with his family and friends. Next to that, he also likes to play videogames and watch Netflix.
Analyse Eyad Hammoud:
Hammoud describes himself as "a confident player who loves to have the ball, to create chances and to score goals". When we look further into the playstyle of Hammoud, we see a player who’s very agile, got a good understanding of the game and is virtually two-footed. The goal below is a perfect example of the combination of these qualities that Hammoud possesses:
A mental aspect that you could see as another quality of Hammoud comes up when I ask him about his best goal in his career so far:
“Every goal is important for me. It does matter if it is from 30 meters out or just a tap in. So, I would say that the best one is always the next one I will score.”
With a mentality like that, we can expect that Hammoud always tries to go for the most effective way of playing. Functionality above beauty. This is a trait that not many players possess, it’s especially rare at youth players.
Expectation Seréyo Bekkink:
The step from the youth to the first team is, especially in England, a tough one. Youth players don’t get a lot of chance, because clubs need direct results. Nevertheless, I think Hammoud got a good chance to succeed in England. His ability to shoot with both legs is a huge asset, and because of his agility, he could cause a lot of problem for big, less agile defenders. The fact that Hammoud can play on multiple positions also increases his chances to succeed.
Do you wanna judge Hammoud yourself? Check some of his highlights below!