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Playmaker's EFL 72: #19 Ali Al-Hamadi

2024/05/02 15:54

We're getting close to the pinnacle of our 'Playmaker 72' list - and our 'Top 10' is now on the horizon.

It's certainly been no easy task, but - just to clarify - our '72' is less a roll call of the best footballers in the EFL and more a tribute to those players who have enjoyed the most memorable seasons while racking up the most impressive stats.

Whatever the criteria, we're confident in our selections of the most outstanding players through the Championship, League One, and League Two and welcome any debate on the subject!

Next up, it's a player who was absolutely ripping up League Two in the first part of the season before making a move to the Championship - yes, it's Ali Al-Hamadi.

Number #19: Ali Al-Hamadi (AFC Wimbledon/Ipswich Town)

Al-Hamadi began his career at Tranmere Rovers before switching to Swansea City for the final years of his academy development. In 2021, he joined Wycombe Wanderers before he made his breakthrough move to AFC Wimbledon in January 2023.

During his time at the Dons, Al-Hamadi's performances were exceptional throughout the calendar year, as he contributed 27 goals and eight assists across all competitions. 

His outstanding displays not only earned him a regular spot in the Iraq national team, but also sparked a wave of transfer interest that resulted in his move to Ipswich Town in January.

In 2023, no player under the age of 21 had more goal involvements across the top four tiers than the Iraqi international.

It's fair to say that Al-Hamadi's outstanding form at AFC Wimbledon during the first part of the season is the primary factor for his inclusion in our 'Playmaker 72'.

During the early part of the 2023/24 campaign, Al-Hamadi won three PFA League Two Player of the Month awards, handed out by the Professional Footballers' Association, which underlined just how good he was.

We firmly believe that had he maintained his form at Wimbledon, he would have been a strong contender for the League Two Player of the Season award - but he was always destined for a higher level. 

Since signing for the Tractor Boys, Al-Hamadi has shown flashes of his talent and quality for Kieran McKenna's team, who stand on the brink of sensational back-to-back promotions to the Premier League. 

Largely limited to appearances off the bench, Al Hamadi has scored four goals in 14 Championship games, although he has made just the one start. 

All four of the youngster's goals for Ipswich have unsurprisingly come from off the bench, and only Leicester's prolific veteran Jamie Vardy (7) and Preston's Milutin Osmajic (5) have managed to score more goals when subbed on in the second tier this season. 

In terms of his goals-per-minute rate, Al-Hamadi is right up there still and his ratio of a goal every 70 minutes for the Suffolk side means that only Hull City's Noah Ohio (65mpg) has a better strike rate across the Championship this term.

Although Al-Hamadi's physicality might suggest he's a traditional number 9 and more of a target man, he offers way more than that. With the versatility to drop deep and collect the ball, he is a real threat driving towards goal and has the confidence to do plenty of damage in one-on-one situations.

Quick, two-footed and unpredictable, Al-Hamadi has enjoyed a fine season and there seems plenty more to come from him.  

Playmaker's EFL 72...the countdown

20: Jack Clarke 21: Isaac Olaofe

22: Carl Piergiani 23: Jaden Philogene 24: Alfie May

25: Will Evans 26: Jamie Reid 27: Morgan Whittaker

28: Conor Chaplin 29: George Thomason 30: Mickey Demetriou

31: Stephy Mavididi 32: Marc Leonard 33: Josh Sheehan

34: Matt Smith 35: Kwame Poku 36: Illan Meslier 37: Aden Flint

38: Ronnie Edwards 39: Josh Sargent 40: Alex Gilbey 41: Ben Sheaf

42: Jobe Bellingham 43: Devante Cole 44: Jacob Greaves 45: Paddy Lane

46: Herbie Kane 47: Dan James 48: Archie Collins 49: Karamoko Dembele

50: Haji Wright 51: Dan Crowley 52: Cameron Brannagan 53: Aaron Collins

54: Andy Cook 55: Connor Shaughnessy 56: Jannik Vestergaard

57: Willy Gnonto 58: Ellis Simms 59: Charlie Hughes 60: Fatawu Isshaku

61: Sam Hoskins 62: Paul Mullin 63: Chris Martin 64: Omari Hutchinson

65: Isaac Hutchinson 66: Sam Tickle 67: Ben Hinchcliffe 68: Michał Helik

69: Lewis Wing 70: Rob Apter 71: Kyle Walker-Peters 72: Alex Palmer

Ali Al-Hamadi
NameAli Al-Hamadi
Born/Age2002-03-01(22 -yrs-old)
Dual Nationality
PositionForward (Striker)


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2024-05-02 18h53m by nlawson12
Great article! Love the gratitude for the players who have had outstanding seasons and stats. Keep it up!
2024-05-02 18h05m by sjacksons_9_2_1
Wow, can't wait for the top 10 of Playmaker 72! It's been a tough list to rank, but I agree with the criteria and selections for the best players in the EFL. Next up, Ali Al-Hamadi - he was a beast in League Two and now making moves in the Championship!
2024-05-02 17h15m by sparkerfield
I can't wait to see who makes it into the top 10 of this Playmaker 72 list!


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