German-born, to an Irish mother and an Algerian father, striker Ali Reghba is making huge strides in his football career at League of Ireland club Shelbourne under the tutelage of U-17 head coach Stephen Finn.
Reghba is part of their U-17 side, but has also featured on a few occasions for Wayne Groves U-19’s, including a start and goal in a 7-0 win over Monaghan.
The 17 year-old was born in Germany and he told us, “I lived there until I was six years old and was always eager to start my football career, but I didn’t get going until I made the move to Ireland. That same year I began with my very first football club, St Columban’s Boys FC, and from there it’s all history.”
On his family background Ali said it’s great, “I have a big family on both sides who fully support my football career, and want nothing but the best for me. I am surrounded with the right people.”
Ali explains what type of player he is, “I would say I’m a smart strong hard working and technical striker who always has an eye for goals. I like taking full advantage of my strengths, and always try to be the difference in the match, the game-changer is what I like to call it.”
“Personally I think my qualities would be my all around power on the pitch. I hold the ball up really well and love a good battle. Also my technical ability and positioning. These components help me with my game a lot and help me achieve the finishing touch, GOALS!”
“As for improvements, there is always room no matter what level, but the main attributes I wish to improve on is speed and becoming even fitter. I want to improve even the smallest things.”
In 2014 the young striker was called up by Colin O’Brien to the Republic of Ireland’s U-15 squad for the Hibernia Umbro Trophy, for games against Sunderland and Leicester City. He was thrilled by that opportunity, “Being part of that squad was one of the highlights of my career. The experience was great and the professionalism was unreal. Also, to win the tournament made it that much better. I hope for many more call ups in the future.”
This season is going extremely well for Reghba and he’s enjoying every minute of it. He said, “As a striker, scoring goals is my job. The season is going well for me at the moment. I feel I am playing really well in every match and I’m delivering, but I also feel I have more to show and I will keep working hard until I get to where I want to be.”
As for being called up to the U-19’s Reghba said, “To be called up is always an honour and to score is a bigger bonus. When I step on the pitch as I’ve said I want to be that difference from losing to winning. The next thing I’m working towards is a call up to the senior squad. I will keep the grind going until the chance arrives.”
When asked if it was difficult to move up to the U-19’s he said, “To be brutally honest to me there is not much of a difference apart from the physical side to the game but I feel well capable to perform at that level.”
His dream is to make it as far as possible in the game. He said, “As everyone young player would say it’s to make it to a professional level, and that’s what I hope to achieve. Day in day out that is my ultimate goal, and I will do whatever I can to get there. And if I make it, please god I will continue to better my self as a player.”
He says he likes to style his game on one of the games legends, Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic. “I relate to his style of play as the physical presence he delivers and he can also score goals. I like his attitude, he has the “I can do anything” and with determination that’s what you can achieve. Knowing his back ground as well, that he came from nothing to what he is today, is extraordinary and I hope to be there one day.”
As for his biggest influence in his career so far, “The one person who has been the biggest influence in my career so far has to be my Dad. He’s been there for me since day one. He is so supportive and wants nothing but the best for me. He helps me prepare for every match the right way, with the right foods before and after, and I hope that I can return all the favours one day.”
His manager at Shelbourne Stephen Finn thinks the young striker has all the attributes to succeed in the game. Finn said, “He has been really excellent for us since day one. In my opinion he is one of the best strikers in the country at his age, and I really believe he has the potential to win a Schools international cap at the very least next season.”
“If he keeps his improvement up he can become a very good striker in this league, and it would be lovely to see him progress through the ranks at Shelbourne.”
We asked him about the club’s policy with their youth players, “Our policy is to promote players who excel with the U-17s up to the U-19s, and from there they have to be looking to make an impression on the first team management.”
He has great faith in the youngster to succeed and explains why, “Ali plays the central striking position so well for us, holds the ball up very well, likes to compete with defenders, but will also drop in and get at them too so he’s a real handful for any defender to deal with.”
“He has scored a nice variety of goals for us from outside the box to two yard tap-ins so that’s an example of his range.”
“He’s great to work with, he is very competitive and looks to make his mark in every game he plays. He can definitely improve on all aspects of his game, but he is an intelligent lad with a brilliant attitude. As long as he retains that open mindset I have every confidence that he can make great progress at Shelbourne.”
He is certainly a name to keep an eye on over the next couple of years.
Photo Credits: Martin Costello