A step 'Inter' the unknown for TV star Abdellah
Jan 13 2010 By Jon Batham
ONE day you are playing Sunday football, the next minute you could be playing for the mighty Inter Milan under Jose Mourinho.
It is the stuff dreams are made of, but it is exactly the scenario experienced by a 17-year-old from Shepherd’s Bush.
Hicham Abdellah swapped the Linford Christie Stadium for life at the San Siro for 10 weeks before Christmas as one of 10 finalists of Sky One’s Football’s Next Star, a TV show in which the winner wins a contract with the Italian giants.
And to think striker Abdellah almost missed his chance to audition for the nationwide trials last August, run by Inter coaches Marco Monti and Paolo Migliavacca.
He said: “I overheard some people from the Kicks team talking about the trials, but didn’t believe anything like that could happen for me, so I didn’t apply.
“Then, just the day before the trials, someone told me to ring up.”
The English-born youngster of Moroccan descent soon made a splash at the trials, scoring a hat-trick in the selection game for the next phase of the competition in Watford.
There again Abdellah, who has had trials for the Hornets, starred in the final elimination match, hitting another treble, but it was still a nervous wait to see if he had made the final 10.
He said: “We were all gathered together and told the 10 boys whose names were read out that they could go and get their Inter Milan shirts.
“You could hear everyone’s heart beating it was that tense, but I was the third name called, so it wasn’t as nerve-wracking as if I’d been 10th to be called.”
The former Acton High pupil admits being away from his parents in a foreign country was hard and he also confessed to missing out on a day’s training with Mourinho’s first team for not being changed quickly enough.
But being inside the San Siro is a moment he won’t forget in a hurry.
He added: “The San Siro was one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments. “It’s not every day you see a place of footballing heroes.
“It was an inspiration to think one day I might play there too.”