Florian Kamberi is happy at Hibs right now – but striker remains ambitious
Florian Kamberi says he is happy at Hibs - but the striker believes the Easter Road club will respect any player’s ambitions to move their career forward.
The Swiss hitman has been linked with a clutch of English clubs including Brentford, Middlesbrough, Swansea and Portsmouth in recent weeks, no doubt alerted by his reported unhappiness following last season’s much-publicised bust-up with former boss Neil Lennon.
But speaking for the first time since that simmering row came to a head and resulted in Lennon and his assistant Garry Parker being suspended before leaving the capital club “by mutual consent”, Kamberi was adamant his sole focus is on having what he believes could be a very good season for Hibs under new head coach Paul Heckingbottom.
The former Grasshoppers Zurich player netted his first competitive goal as he opened the scoring in Hibs 3-0 Betfred Cup win over Arbroath and, while admitting he was well aware of the rumours circulating about his future, he said: “Speculation like this means I am doing something well.
“Scoring goals and playing well ... that, for me, is a sign that hard work pays off. I am happy at Hibs and I am enjoying playing here, in front of our supporters.
“Every player will have ambitions to go forward in their career, to make a step up and I think our club will respect that but, at the moment, I am feeling very content here. The future is long, though, so you never know what is going to happen.”
Kamberi revealed it had been tough at times last season as he found himself under incessant criticism from Lennon and Parker, matters coming to a head as he snapped during a debrief following a defeat by Motherwell which turned out to be the now Celtic manager’s last match in charge of Hibs.
Describing the atmosphere under Heckingbottom as “very, very good”, the 24-year-old said: “Since the season has started we haven’t had many injuries so everything is going well.
“Everybody is confident and, of course, if you are winning games, then it is even better. That gives everybody even more belief.
“I think it could be a very good season for us, absolutely. We have done well in pre-season and although we still have things to improve, the season will be long and there will be a lot of games, but the goal is always to be better than last season.
“I think that is the goal of every player. Every player wants to get better, the manager wants to make every player better and I think that is the most important thing.”
Kamberi spent the early months of Heckingbottom’s reign playing wide on the left but, he insisted, he sees himself as and out-and-out striker.
He said: “Look, I will always play wherever a manager tells me to play and I will try to give my best.
“But through the middle, in the centre forward position, that is my position. That is where I am very comfortable and it is my style of game, the way we played on Tuesday.
“I am not the type who wants to just be a target man, getting on the end of long balls. I like to play football and to link up play. So I am delighted to be back playing up front.”
Kamberi, however, revealed he’s happy to see new signing Christian Doidge wear the No.9 jersey, leaving him to continue sporting the No.22 which he has worn since arriving in the Capital.
He said: “It’s the birthday of my father (Pashk). His birthday is March 22, 1964. That is why I took 22. When I came back last summer the kitman told me he had the No.9 ready, but I said I would keep 22 because it is for my father.
“He has supported me my whole career and he will support me still, so I will keep that number.”