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Bournemouth’s Semenyo delighted with EPL impact

Antoine Semenyo (left) working with young players during a community event in Gozo organised by Reach Communications. Photo: Reach Communications

The off-season often goes overlooked by football supporters eagerly awaiting the upcoming season. However, for the players themselves, this period is a crucial phase in their yearly cycle as it helps them take a break from the intense physical demands of the sport, especially for the players who feature in one of the most competitive club championships of all – the English Premier League.

Antoine Semenyo, 24, knows a thing or two about the demands that England’s top flight requires, having just finished his second season on the books of Bournemouth.

The right winger opted for Gozo as one of his off-season destinations and was impressed with the scenery the local panorama offers.

“Gozo was unbelievable with its scenes and views, and having been on a boat I could also take a closer look at the magnificent Blue Lagoon,” Semenyo, who was brought over to Malta by Reach Communications (reach.mt), told the Times of Malta.

“The island is a great place for a holiday, and I will recommend it to the people close to me as it provides a perfect community for some relaxing time.”

Semenyo’s break in Gozo comes at the back of a long campaign for him having played 33 Premier League matches for the Cherries in the 2023-24 season.

Semenyo found the net on eight occasions including against Liverpool, Aston Villa and Newcastle. He also grabbed a brace in a thrilling seven-goal victory over relegated side Luton Town back in March.

Bournemouth themselves had a season to remember, having secured their record number of points – 48.

Semenyo was pleased with how the season unfolded, having also reached his personal objectives which he sets just before every campaign starts.

“It was a special season for me and the club,” he said.

“Before every campaign, I always write down my objectives in terms of starting games and goals in a journal and I am delighted to say that I have reached my objectives this year.

“I worked hard to put myself in the right position at this club and I am pleased to have contributed to this record campaign for Bournemouth.”

Semenyo added that the past campaign bodes well for the future of the club as he eyes European football with Bournemouth.

Playing in UEFA club competition would be another redemption moment for Semenyo, having gone from Sunday League to Premier League football.

Semenyo had to take a different path to play in the top-flight having never featured for an academy while being rejected by several clubs including Crystal Palace, Tottenham and Arsenal.

“I think suffering rejections strengthened my mindset as I always strived to keep developing nonetheless,” Semenyo said.

“Challenging myself on and off the pitch was always my target and I like to put myself in tough positions. I knew about the obstacles but I always remained patient even when I was on the bench or was sidelined with an injury.

“I think resilient is the best adjective to describe me.”

After playing for Sunday League’s Kingfisher, Semenyo had put pen to paper on a deal with Championship side Bristol City but his professional career truly kickstarted in 2018-19, donning the colours of Newport County in League Two.

While in Wales, he also featured in the club’s famous FA Cup win over 2016 Premier League title winners Leicester City.

Bournemouth’s Antoine Semenyo. Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP

Asked about how League Two shaped him as a player, Semenyo admitted that it was not easy at first as he had to make the transition from youth football into senior football at 18 years old.

“However, I wanted to prove myself and the manager gave me confidence as he always trusted me to cause problems to the opponents and score goals.”

Despite returning to Bristol City in the Championship and making a handful of appearances, Semenyo moved to League One at Sunderland in a season which he describes as very difficult for him.

Nonetheless, it did not hinder his development. From the 2020-21 season onwards, he became a key fixture at Bristol City in England’s second-tier.

A total of 125 games, 21 goals and 22 assists reflect Semenyo’s progress at Bristol City before moving to Bournemouth.

“The Championship is a very hard and tough league with plenty of matches to be played and a lot of weekend and mid-week back-to-back fixtures,” Semenyo pointed out.

“Nonetheless, I wanted to showcase myself here and push myself to overcome the tiredness and fatigue in such a demanding league.”

‘Grateful for the opportunity’

Asked about his spell in the Premier League, Semenyo admitted that it is a ruthless league where the slightest of mistakes is paid dearly.

Yet, he is pleased with his impact in one of the best leagues across the globe and is grateful for the opportunity that the Cherries have given him.

At international level, Semenyo is a key player within the Ghana national team with whom he also played in the 2022 World Cup.

In Qatar, Semenyo played twice in the group stages against Portugal and Uruguay.

Semenyo described his experience playing on the grandest stage of all as ‘every kid’s dream’. He has already played 19 matches for Ghana and was a starter in every group-stage match at last January’s Africa Cup of Nations.

“Ghana means a lot to me as it represents a huge part of my family and I could not turn down this opportunity, despite having a sniff at a chance to represent England at youth level which did not materialise,” Semenyo said.

Speaking of England, Semenyo looks forward to seeing Gareth Southgate’s side in action during the upcoming European Championships.

“They have a good opportunity to win these championships as they have so much talent, even across Europe like Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane,” he said.

“We will have to see how it will turn out as there are other great nations that are more than capable of lifting the trophy come July 14.”

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