Hemed fol­low­ing his heart to Premier League

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BY SI­MON GRIVER

FOOT­BALL TOMER Hemed reg­is­tered his 10th Cham­pi­onship goal of the sea­son in Brighton’s 1-1 draw against Ip­swich.

The Is­raeli striker has hit a purple patch in the team’s pur­suit of Premier League foot­ball next sea­son and Tues­day’s ef­fort was his sixth goal in the last five league matches. He has scored eight goals this year.

Yet Hemed only net­ted twice in the first four months of the sea­son and spent most of the time on the bench. “I was in­jured for three games and couldn’t win back my place,” he said.

“The team was on an 18-match un­beaten run and the man­ager un­der­stand­ably did not want to drop strik­ers who were scor­ing goals. I knew I needed to be pa­tient and work hard in train­ing but I took my chance when it came.” Hemed re­vealed in ad­di­tion to an of­fer from Mac­cabi Tel Aviv last sum­mer, he has also been of­fered a lu­cra­tive move to China.

“I could earn more money in China or even Israel but that’s not my pri­or­ity,” he said. “I’m fo­cused on get­ting to play in the Premier League with Brighton.”

He was glad to see team-mate and fel­low Israel in­ter­na­tional Beram Kayal re­turn from an an­kle in­jury. “We’re great friends on and off the pitch and it’s im­por­tant he is back.” Hemed, who turns 30 in May, joined Brighton in 2015 on a three­year deal af­ter play­ing in La Liga. With his im­pres­sive goal-scor­ing record this year, he is also hop­ing for a na­tional team re­call ahead Israel’s cru­cial World Cup qual­i­fier in Spain next month.

Tomer Hemed

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