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Hamid Sabiri: Wagner’s Wildcard?

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When Abdelhamid Sabiri arrived from FC Nürnberg fifteen months ago for a fee in the region of £1.3m, many saw the signing as one with the future in mind. 

Prior to the move, Sabiri had only made nine senior appearances in the German second division for Der Ruhmreiche before making the bold switch to England.

Initially, it appeared that the Moroccan-born midfielder was in David Wagner’s immediate plans. His assist for Laurent Depoitre’s goal against Leicester City was testament to the end product that he was capable of producing.

However, he quickly fell out of favour in late September of last season.

Cutting a frustrated figure, Sabiri’s opportunities were limited, to say the least. He only managed five Premier League appearances in his first season in West Yorkshire.

Having featured predominantly in the development squad with the odd cameo in the Premier League, the ability that Sabiri possessed was still abundantly clear to see.

However, as an enigmatic presence, the difficulty lied in harnessing that ability on a regular basis. Whilst there were flickers of brilliance, too often, it was sandwiched between prolonged periods of inconsistency – which considering his age and relative inexperience is to be expected.

Again, this season, Sabiri has been used sparingly with his only Premier League appearance to date coming in the harrowing 6-1 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad.

And yet, there is a sense that the 21-year-old has developed and grown over the past twelve months.

The prime example came during Town’s protracted pre-season tours of Germany and Austria. Tasked with operating in an unfamiliar deeper role, Sabiri showed an unprecedented level of maturity.

Whilst he may have been struggling for opportunities with Huddersfield Town, Sabiri has now begun to receive international recognition.

Now, on the back of two man of the match performances for Germany’s Under 21’s, it seems to be the perfect time to bring Hamid Sabiri back into the fold.

The issue that confronts Sabiri is the fact that Town’s three-man midfield of Aaron Mooy, Philip Billing and Aaron Mooy have arguably been Town’s best performers in recent weeks.

However, that does not mean that Sabiri can’t be David Wagner’s wildcard option to bring off the bench.

He has demonstrated on numerous occasions for the Development side and more recently for the German Under-21’s that, despite coming from midfield, he has an eye for goal.

With a lack of goals being Town’s Achilles heel (and for some time), Sabiri as an enigmatic creative outlet, could prove to be another vital source of goals.

In addition, with the maturity shown in pre-season, Sabiri looks less like a raw talent that needs nurturing and more like a player that can be trusted and one that has the hunger of having a point to prove.

On the back of another impressive international break, now would be the opportune moment for David Wagner to give Hamid Sabiri the chance to translate his international form at club level.

After two man-of-the-match displays for Germany’s Under-21’s, he must take that confidence he has gleamed from those games and bring it back to the Premier League.