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Zeli Ismail: My best football was at Walsall

Zeli Ismail believes he played some of the best football of his career in his first spell at Walsall.

Zeli Ismail
Zeli Ismail

The 24-year-old became a fans favourite at the Banks’s Stadium after impressing during a six-month loan stint with the club last season.

Now he is back with the Saddlers after putting pen to paper on a one-year deal which includes the option of a further 12 months.

But while supporters were delighted to see him return, Ismail isn’t taking his place in the side for granted ahead of the new campaign.

“My first spell here was some of the best football I have played in my career,” the winger said.

“I had a great connection with Erhun (Oztumer).

“Unfortunately he is not here anymore.

“But Walsall are a team that likes to play and keep the ball on the ground which suits me.

“I’ve been impressed by the boss (Dean Keates) and his philosophy and mentality.

“And I know the first target for me is to break into the team.

“We have got some good players and there is competition for places so I need to battle for a starting spot.”

Ismail played on the wing for Walsall last season but was sometimes used as a striker by Bury.

But he believes wide on the right is his best position.

“It depends what the gaffer wants – but I do prefer being on the right wing,” he added.

“I can do a job up front but I prefer the wing.”

Meanwhile, Walsall have announced they will hold fan focus meeting on Monday.

The event, which will take place in the Stadium Suite at the Banks’s Stadium, will start at 7pm.

Fans will have the chance to put questions to chief executive Stefan Gamble and club secretary Dan Mole.

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