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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers News » A bright, White future is in store for Alex Samizadeh

A bright, White future is in store for Alex Samizadeh

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

For the majority of players in a Wanderers shirt, Tuesday night at Brentford was a night to forget but for one teenager, April 5, 2016, will be a date he will remember for a long time.

The meteoric rise of 17-year-old Alex Samizadeh saw him come off the bench to make his senior Whites debut at Griffin Park despite only signing as a first-year scholar last summer.

In just nine months, the Iranian-born striker has gone from an Under-18s debut and goals galore to scoring on his first appearance and then a first start for Wanderers' Under-21 development squad to joining the list of academy graduates to play for the senior team.

And interim boss Jimmy Phillips, while disappointed with the overall 3-1 defeat for his side at Brentford, was pleased to be able to blood the youngster at senior level, albeit for just a few minutes in west London.

Phillips said: "Throwing people forward was the plan and I know young Samizadeh plays on the shoulder of defenders.

"We were hoping if a ball did drop to him over the top he might have shot from 25 yards.

"I have seen many of those goals fly in this season for him."

There have certainly been plenty of goals of all kinds for Samizadeh this season at various levels.

In 15 starts and four substitute appearances for the U18s, he has bagged 18 goals, while he has netted four times for the U21s in 14 appearances, five of which have been from the start.

Phillips believes the youngster, who trained with Derby County at the beginning of the year, deserves his opportunity and had considered handing him a home debut against Reading before opting to go with the experience of Emile Heskey from the bench late on.

Nevertheless, he says being in and around the senior side will aid Samizadeh's development.

Phillips told The Bolton News: "It’s good for youngsters like Alex to be in the squad.

"You are in and around the first-team players and the training will have been quicker and sharper than he has been used to.

"It will be a good experience for him to be part of it.

"He very nearly got on at the weekend – it was just a last-minute change of thought from us.

"It was the right decision – if I had the time again I wouldn’t change it because it was the right thing to do.

"I am sure if Alex keeps working hard he will get the opportunity.

"It doesn't guarantee success, though, he will have to keep working hard.

"We have seen instances in the past when players who have done fantastically well at youth and reserve level don’t kick on.

"I remember a striker – who I won't name – who scored goals for fun in the youth team around 12 years ago but struggled to score in the first team."

U21s coach Iain Brunskill echoed Phillips' sentiments not long after his scoring impact for the second-string at the back end of last year.

 "It's very early days for him yet." Brunskill told the club.

"He needs to keep working, keep scoring and doing well in the under-18s and we'll see how he gets on."

Samizadeh's coach at that U18s level, David Lee, is also a fan of the teenager and believes he can go on and make the grade as a first-team regular.

He added: "Alex has done very well and has proven himself to be a key player for us.

"He is the kind of player who can self-create goals which bodes well for the Under-18s' immediate future.

"He has also played for the under-21s which is a big confidence boost for him.

"The elevation to that level has happened quite quickly, but it's an opportunity which he has taken and made the most of.

"He is still very young and learning his trade though, so we need to ensure he still develops properly, both with the U18s and higher-age bracket.

"He's only been with the club for a season and was offered a scholarship in the summer.

"We saw the promise in him to offer him the chance to progress through the academy.

"Hopefully that will reap dividends in the years to come."


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