Defender hopes to become a fixture in the Magpies rearguard this season...
Hamza Bencherif is enjoying playing as a centre-back again, following a hiatus in midfield.
Bencherif has appeared in defence for both of the Magpies’ pre-season friendlies looking assured in his new role.
As a youth in the Nottingham Forest Academy, the 24-year-old featured mostly as a defender but has made the switch to the middle of the park in recent years.
It was his performances in this position that led to Notts bringing the former Algerian under-20 international to Meadow Lane from Macclesfield Town last summer.
Bencherif appeared 25 times in the black and white stripes during the 2011.12 campaign but now feels he can be best utilised at the back, as the team aims to play a grounded style of football.
“When I was at Forest as a young player I’ve said I’ve always been a centre-back,” he told Magpie Player.
“I’ve played a few years at centre-mid and I’ve enjoyed it, but in a team like ours, where we play loads of football and get the ball a lot to your feet, I think my best position is centre-back.
“I’m enjoying it very well but I’m competing for any position, anywhere in the team.
“I just want to do my best but I think with the football that we’re trying to play I’ll be the best help for the rest of the team at centre-back.
“If you play centre-mid and you’re hoofing the ball forward or you’re trying to get a header or the second ball and smash it I might be helpful.
“In our team centre-mids get plenty of the ball and we’ve got quality players, and at centre-back I can feed them.”
It was a discussion with first team manager Keith Curle that led to Bencherif’s reassignment.
Curle believes that the number 18 has a lot of potential as a defender and hopes to get the best out of him.
“I had a conversation, myself and Hamza, at the end of the season and it was decided, in all honesty, that if Hamza only wants to play as a central midfield player I didn’t think he was going to figure in my plans,” said the Notts boss.
“I think there’s an opening and an opportunity that he can foray a career as a centre-back at a higher level.
“That’s been something we’ve been working at and I think he’s enjoying the role and the responsibility.
“We’re still trying to play football but Hamza with his physical attributes that he’s got, could forge a career as a centre-back.”
Bencherif has appreciated the gaffer’s input and feels that he can continuing improving under his guidance.
He added: “He’s the manager and what he wants to do is get the best out of all of the players.
“When we train we’re always listening to what he’s got to say, and the staff, and he’s been helping a lot.
“I think that if I play centre-back or centre-mid and listen to them I’m going to do a good job.”
The Magpies are in action this weekend with another pre-season away at Scarborough Athletic. For full details, click here