Wolves fans will have been delighted when a 16-year-old Zeli Ismail turned down a move to Chelsea in order to stay with the Old Gold but sadly his career has been blighted by injuries.
The teenager was tipped to be worth £100m as he emerged as a top talent from Wolves’ academy and he would sign a professional contract at the age of 17, with the world seemingly at his feet.
He would go on to make just 12 appearances for Wolves’ senior side, contributing no goals and two assists, while he also struggled to make much of an impact out on numerous loan spells with the likes of MK Dons, Burton Albion and Notts County in League One.
Indeed, he would score just seven times across those spells, ever failing to live up to the hype.
Wolves cut ties with the winger at the end of the 2015/16 season and he joined Bury on a free transfer, hitting four goals and six assists during his time at Gigg Lane.
A move to Bradford City in League Two would follow, with a nasty hamstring injury bringing an end to his time in the Football League.
Upon joining Hereford United in non-league, Ismail said: “The injuries have killed me throughout my career really, I’ve just not been able to get a season where I’m injury-free so hopefully this is the one.”
Hereford boss Josh Gowling said: “He’s got an unbelievable pedigree so hopefully we will be able to keep hold of him and he makes us go from strength to strength.”
After a brief spell with Hereford, Ismail looks to be finally finding his feet with semi-professional Welsh side Newtown AFC, with four assists in five games at the start of the new season.
While it seems clear that injuries have played a huge part in derailing his career, it is a huge shame that he couldn’t live up to his potential at Wolves, with his agent Lee Marsh suggesting that a move to Real Madrid could have been on the cards as a youngster, such was his pedigree.