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Zeli's Step Up


09:30 25th July 2013

Winger enjoying his chance

Zeli Ismail is firmly focused on learning and continuing to improve his game after his first taste of sustained senior action during this pre-season.

The 19-year-old winger has been the subject of plenty of expectation from Wolves supporters following his early promise, but would rather be judged on his performances as he aims to make his mark at Molineux.

Ismail scored his first senior goal on his first start in the early stages of Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Barnsley, and hit the crossbar after coming on as a substitute in Tuesday’s 2-1 win against Chesterfield.

“At the moment I’m just getting my head down, working hard and seeing this season as a fresh start for me and a lot of the young players,” says Ismail.

“I know there have been expectations around me but to be honest it might affect other people in what they expect but it doesn’t affect me.

“If I can go out and play well then that is all I am interested in.

“I just want to play football, perform and score goals and be judged on my performances.

“I am excited about this season and am looking forward to it.

“Wolves are a big club in this league and everyone is going to be trying to beat us but hopefully can play like we know we can and have a good season.”

Ismail enjoyed his longest pre-season outing to date against Barnsley and is aware there is plenty of competition among the young players to try and be in and around the first team picture this season.

Having moved up to the senior set-up – and indeed also the first team dressing room – he is keen to ensure he learns from the experienced players at the club, not to mention reap the fitness rewards of pre-season.

“It is a good step-up for me to be in and around the first team and in the first team dressing room,” he said.

“As you go along you learn from the experienced players.

“It has been hard work, as it always is in pre-season, and it is certainly the hardest pre-season I have had particularly as it’s now working with the first team.

“There have been double sessions, triple sessions, 7.30am starts, but it’s all good and we will feel the benefits from it.

“It was a good trip in Scotland with two good performances and victories and I think the gaffer was pleased with how it went.

“I got a few minutes and it was nice to be involved and followed up with the training ground game at Birmingham and then my first start against Barnsley.

“That was really enjoyable and of course getting a goal so early in the game just topped it off.”

Ismail knows it is now up to the young players to impress when given the opportunity if they are to feature regularly during the season.

He added:  “Getting the game time is also very important to make sure everyone is fit and ready when the season starts.

“And when you do get the chance it’s about doing whatever you can to impress the gaffer.

“I feel I’ve done o-k in the games so far and have got the confidence when I’m out on the pitch and can get on the ball.

“The gaffer is trying to get a group of young players together to be successful and hopefully I can be part of that group if I keep working hard.

“I went on loan to MK Dons last season and played in League One so I have an idea of what it is about.”

Wolves have one final pre-season friendly - at home to Real Betis on Saturday (3pm) - before the big kick-off at Preston on Saturday, August 3 (3pm).

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