Shaun Dimech provided a timely reminder of his undoubted talents when last weekend, the young attacking midfielder netted a well-taken brace to inspire Valletta FC to a 5-3 win over Sta Lucia at the Centenary Stadium.
Over the last few years, Dimech has emerged as one of the most talented youngsters coming through the Valletta FC Academy.
In fact, despite his young age, for much of the last four seasons Dimech has managed to establish himself as a key member of the Valletta squad.
However, this season things have looked different for Dimech as, since the start of the season, he has struggled to earn a regular berth in Jose Antonio Cardoso Mendes team.
Despite his struggles for regular football, Dimech has kept working hard in training and his sacrifices are starting to reap the much-desired dividends.
In fact, his brace against Sta Lucia came just a week after coming on as a late substitute to score the equaliser in a 1-1 draw against leaders Hibernians.
“It hasn’t been the best start of the season for me,” Dimech told the Times of Malta.
“Since the start of pre-season, it seems that I was not part of the coach’s plans as I have struggled for regular football for some reason.
“But in the last two matches, things are starting to turn my way. Against Hibs, I came on as a substitute and managed to score. On Sunday, I was not initially going to start the match but then Rowen Muscat got injured and the coach put me in the starting XI.
“Fortunately, I managed to take the opportunity with both hands and no doubt Sunday’s match was a huge morale booster for me.
“Hopefully my recent performances will convince the coach that I can be an important player for Valletta FC this season.”
Dimech’s man-of-the-match performance for Valletta FC came at the right time for the 20-year-old who as from yesterday joined the Malta national team squad in preparation of the final World Cup qualifiers against Croatia on November 11 and against Slovakia, three days later at the National Stadium.
Dimech said that he is very grateful to national teams’ head coach Devis Mangia who has been very supportive for the Valletta FC player during his difficult time this season.
“I am really grateful towards national coach Devis Mangia as he has always been behind me,” Dimech said.
“He believes a lot in my qualities and having the opportunity to work with a coach of his quality has, without doubt, boosted my career. I speak a lot with him and we discuss how can I improve as a player.
“I just hope that in the coming weeks I will be able to repay his faith by ensuring to be ready to contribute for the final qualifiers against Croatia and Slovakia.”
The national team have so far amassed five points in Group H, equalling the record tally collected during the Euro 2008 qualifiers.
A point in the final two matches would see Malta set a new record and Dimech said that anything is possible for the national team given the feel-good-factor that currently exists in the group.
“Croatia and Slovakia are very difficult opponents and it will be not easy for us,” Dimech said.
“However, there is so much confidence among the national team players that anything is possible. Now we have ten days to prepare for these matches and hopefully we can end our campaign on a positive note.”