Summer of hard work pays off for Hemed

Tomer Hemed. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Tomer Hemed. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

A summer of hard work has paid off for Albion striker Tomer Hemed after signing a new contract last week.

The 30-year-old had an uncertain summer as he was linked with moves away from the Amex and up until the final day of the transfer window, his future was up in the air.

Had Brighton signed a striker during the window, Hemed may well have been on his way. However, he had decided by the final day of the window he was going to stay and fight for his place - whether the club brought in new players or not.

He netted the third in Albion's 3-1 win against West Brom and then the only goal in the 1-0 victory over Newcastle, before he was retrospectively banned for three matches after a clash with DeAndre Yedlin in the match with the Magpies.

Hemed returned to action at Swansea before the international break and his form prior to the ban has resulted in Albion rewarding him with a new deal until the summer of 2019.

Hemed said: "On my first day here, I said I came to be with Brighton in the Premier League.

"Then it was weird for people to hear but the club achieved it and the obvious thing is to not leave so early. I want to try to show I'm a Premier League player, I deserve to be here and I'm happy I took this decision.

"In other situations people say a team would have paid a lot of money for me and I will have gone but for me sometimes, it is the targets I put in front of my eyes.

"When I came here, it was just about the Premier League, so I couldn't leave so early. I just wanted the chance to show everyone I'm good enough to play at this level and now everyone knows I'm good enough and I can be a good Premier League striker.

"A lot of teams from the Championship wanted me but I'm just focused on the Premier League and after I got this chance, I will not give up so early."

Hemed feels a summer of hard work helped him start the season so well: "Usually I work in the summer to keep in good shape. We get some plans from the club but I decided to have a personal trainer to work extra, every day two or three sessions, just to be ready for the start of the season.

"It was a chance I didn't know if I would get again, so I'm happy.

"In the summer we had the birth of my daughter and I said to my wife sometimes I feel I'm doing something wrong. I'm not spending enough time with them, because we have a new baby.

"But now we are laughing because we've said it was worth it, all the hard work gave me a chance to at least show myself and now everyone has seen I can play at this level and I'm good enough for the Premier League."

Hemed admits the three-game ban is still a frustration for him, having been in such good form: "The first thing I said is it's my reputation. The gaffer, the staff, the players said straight away I am the last one to do something like that.

"And even now people believe I did it on purpose.

"Sometimes I think about that moment and what could have happened if I wasn't away for that period, but things happen in football. You need to have a strong mentality."

With two goals to his name so far this season, Hemed is just focused on helping the club stay in the top flight rather than an individual goal tally.

He said: "I never set in my career how many goals I want to score. I've always said it's as many as I can as it's my job to score goals and my goals help the team.

"I will try to score as many goals as I can but the target like everyone here is to stay in the league."