Zeli Ismail and Liam McAlinden signs pro contracts
The Wolves young starlet Zeli Ismail has signed his first Professional contract as he had his 17th birthday the other day.
Before their 17th birthday clubs are not allowed to sign players on proper professional contracts. At the same time as Wolves signed a contract with our promising young winger, Wolves also signed a contract with young striker Liam McAlinden.
CEO Jez Moxey said that he was delighted to hand them their first professional contracts, which will keep them at Wolves for the next two and half years.
Both of the Academy players have been at Wolves for a long time already. Liam since he was eight and Zeli since he was ten. Both are playing for Wolves Academy under 18’s now and both have also already been substitutes with Wolves Development team in Reserves games lately.
CEO Moxey to the official Wolves site:
“This is just the first step in what we hope will be exciting and fulfilling professional careers with Wolves for both players. Youth development and the work of our Academy remains a key part of our overall strategy here at Wolves and we are delighted to have secured the long term futures of Zeli and Liam.”
“They have a long, long way to go, but they now have the security to try and continue to improve and challenge for a place in the first team.”
Academy manager Thelwell about the two young professionals:
“Liam is a centre forward who was actually converted from a left back and has never looked back since. He works extremely hard, has a terrific left foot and has scored plenty of goals at youth level.”
“Zeli is also an exciting player who is a right winger but can also play on the left. He can beat players and cross the ball with quality as well as having the ability to score goals. From now on it’s about the two of them trying to get themselves into the reserve team on a regular basis.”
“It’s the first step at the start of their careers so it’s very much ‘business as usual’. It’s a ‘Well Done’, and then back to work to really start to kick on and progress. The big thing in all the lads’ favour is that the Manager wants an integrated football department so he knows all the boys and watches them whenever he can. That gives them the chance to catch the Manager’s eye almost every week which offers a vital opportunity for all of them going forward.”
Zeli Ismail, who has played for England U16 and been called up for U18 already, but was unable to play because of an injury, says to the Official Wolves site:
“I’ve been here since I was ten and was spotted by Bob Bennett playing for a Sunday League club. Since I’ve been here it’s been all about trying to improve and getting that first professional contract and I’m really pleased it’s arrived.”
“I’m really happy with the Club and the way we are all treated. The staff are great and are always trying to help me improve my performance. It’s also important that here we get the chance to train sometimes with the first team which doesn’t happen at many other clubs.”
Liam McAlinden, who has played for the Northern Ireland U19 team already, says to the official site:
“I’m delighted to have signed a professional contract as it’s that first rung on the ladder in terms of trying to be involved with the first team. So it’s something I’ve been aiming for and looking forward to getting.”
“I’ve been here since I was eight or nine so it’s great to have worked my way up through the years and signed my first professional contract. Hopefully, I’ll be here for a very long time.”
I’m sure the fans are delighted aswell. At least I am. These are two very promising young professionals who could mean very much for Wolves in the future.
Most of the Wolves fans have heard of Zeli Ismail one way or another already. A couple of years ago he was seen as one of the most promising junior players in the world and I am delighted to know that he is on the right track and still a vital part of our clubs future, despite his severe injury last season.
He was actually close to score a winning goal yesterday in a friendly against the West Brom reserves. And he scored a hat-trick not long ago with the Academy under 18’s.
Liam MacAlinden is also a notorious goalscorer who has the potential to play with our first team in the Premier League within the years to come.
The results of the Academy under 18’s and the Development team shows that these players – and many others – have the potential to play for Wolves first team in the future and that the Wolves Academy are doing the right thing when developing our young players.
So Congratulations to Liam McAlinden and Zeli Ismail for entering the world of professional footballers and Good luck for the future – hopefully a future in Old Gold and Black!