Brighton & Hove Albion striker Tomer Hemed reflected on a memorable summer, as the birth of his second daughter followed promotion to the Premier League.
Emmy was born in Israel on 20th June, and Hemed said the timing could not have been better ahead of reporting back for pre-season on Monday.
He said, “It came at the right time because I was able to spend a few days with my wife and baby before returning to England.
“I had a few more days with the family, and now I am here, I can concentrate on pre-season.
“It was another amazing moment for me. We celebrated at the end of the season and then in the summer we had the baby, so it was a perfect summer for me. Now I am happy to be back and I am ready for the new season.”
Hemed cannot wait to kick off the season against Premier League big guns Manchester City, but admits that facing the red half of Manchester is even more tantalising, having supported United as a boy.
“It’s a great start to get one of the biggest clubs and it will be amazing for the fans to start the season in that way.
“I am sure we will be ready. We have to be in the best-possible shape for these games. There will be an amazing atmosphere for this first game.
“It will be incredible when all the big teams comes to the Amex. I had it in Spain and I know what it’s like to play against some of the biggest teams in the world.
“We need to go and get points in these games and not just enjoy the atmosphere. It will be special playing against all the big teams, but Man United will be the most special games for me.”
The Israeli feels there is less of a gap between the bottom and top of the Premier League, as opposed to La Liga, but stressed the need to be even more ruthless in front of goal.
“In the Premier League it’s tougher [than La Liga] because the smaller teams have more chance of beating beat the bigger ones.
“It also makes the league more competitive, and the bottom group of teams spend more money than the bottom ones in La Liga.
“We know that in the Premier League we’re now one of the underdogs after being one of the favourites in the most of the games last season. We won’t have many chances and we have to be really clinical. We’ll have fewer chances than the last two years, so we’ll have to be ready for that.”