It’s a bit soon to say anything too definitive, but I think that the biggest hurdle for a young striker coming in from abroad to overcome - apart from all the stuff you have to deal with off the pitch, of course - is proving you were worth the investment.
He’s been rather fortunate in that he’s the only fit striker we have in the senior squad at the minute, so he’s got a free run at it and that takes a heap of pressure off.
By the time we play Ipswich in a fortnight or so, we know he’ll be starting because he’s been part of the group from the start of the summer, and knowing that has allowed him to just crack on in games and do what he does best.
Lots of people think that we can’t read too much into what we see in pre-season but in my opinion, the one position where performances actually mean something during these games is up top.
If a striker is scoring goals and getting into the rhythm of putting the ball in the back of the net, it can only be a good thing for when the real action starts, and the fact that Hemir has already got himself three goals in three games must be doing his confidence the world of good.
He’s got all the raw attributes to suggest he’s going to be a very good player, and he’ll need time to adjust, but the early signs are promising. There’s a Ross Stewart-shaped hole in the squad at the minute, so why can’t he fill it? I think he can, but we still have to be incredibly patient.
Joseph Tulip says…
Ever since Sunderland brought in a certain Kevin Phillips as a relatively unknown quantity a generation ago, I’ve always liked the idea of striker that we know little about coming to the club and taking the place by storm.
Semedo is a completely different type of player but he certainly seems to know where the goal is. It’s good to see him getting games under his belt, making an impact and settling in as part of our squad.
As Gav says, If he keeps progressing and stays fit, he’ll be handed his chance in the absence of Ross Stewart, and that’s exciting on many levels.
A physically strong player with a turn of pace as well as aerial ability, Semedo is different to all of the striking options we had last season, and after playing half of the campaign without a recognised number nine, it’s exciting to see a new addition come in and be presented with the opportunity to fill that void.
I don’t know much about Semedo, but from what we’ve seen so far, the signs look good and it gives us the sort of buzz you’d want in pre-season as we look forward to what lies ahead.
Malc Dugdale says...
From the glimpses I’ve seen of Semedo, there’s a lot of early promise but clearly there’s also a long way to go in order to know for sure what he has to offer.
On the plus side, he’s clearly well developed for his age and having another big lad on the pitch was something the club wanted to achieve, given how we went out of the playoffs.
He’a a physically strong lad but he’s also pretty quick and good aerially, and he’s also able to tuck away opportunities when they’re presented to him.
In terms of areas to develop, the main one will be gelling with the team and ensuring the chemistry and interplay between himself and the attacking midfielders is as well tuned as it can be before we start the season.
He’ll score in games against weaker opposition in terms of league stature, but he can only play whoever’s in front of him. If he can use these games to grow his understanding and interplay as well as building confidence, it’s all good.
The other key thing we need to work out is how he’s best utilised in the team.
Will he play alongside Ross Stewart when the latter is fit or will he replace him and then rotate with him, only starting when we prefer two up top? Will we ever have two fit strikers to even consider these options? We certainly need at least one more inbound to be ready for this campaign.
He’s doing well so far but there are still lots of things to check out with him, especially how he can work best with the wider squad.
Keep doing what you’re doing, lad. We may well need you sooner and a lot more often than we hoped to, given the Stewart news and the rumours about Isaac Lihadji in the press.