"I like to take risks and play forward" - New signing Hoti on joining Halifax, his role at The Shay and what he will bring to the team

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Florent Hoti is ready to pick up the baton as Town's new conductor.

The 22-year-old midfielder joined Halifax on a two-year deal after impressing in a trial game this summer.

Like fellow new signing Kane Thomson-Sommers, Hoti, who describes himself as a midfielder who likes to get on the ball and express himself, will have to wait for his Town debut due to injury, having sustained a hamstring problem in training that looks set to keep him out until September.

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"I'd say I'm best when I'm on the ball but I have the other side to my game as well where I'm not afraid to put a tackle in and do the dirty work as well," he said.

Florent HotiFlorent Hoti
Florent Hoti

"I like to take risks and play forward, and show a bit of skill because that's what I learned playing on the streets of Manchester with my brother and my friends.

"That's where you get your flair and your skill so I just try and take that into my game and express myself."

Hoti has shown glimpses in pre-season of being able to get on the ball and dictate play from the middle of the pitch.

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"I like that responsibility," he said, "I want players to try and look to me to do something.

"Give me that responsibility, that's what I want.

"Obviously I'm new to the team but I've got to bring something to the table as well, and that's something I can do, get us playing.

"That's a responsibility I definitely want to take.

"I think that's where I'll thrive, going into a game knowing that I need to get us playing."

Hoti is an admirer of one of the finest exponents of his craft, Liverpool's Thiago. Not only a conductor, but a maestro.

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"He's got a good balance of expressing himself on the ball with his Brazilian-Spanish background, but also he can do the dirty work," Hoti said.

"As a kid I supported Man United and another player I really liked was Paul Pogba, he's also a player that likes to express himself when he's on it but also can do the off the ball stuff.

"The game's evolving in that sense where you don't really get number ten's anymore, you see less and less of them.

"Players like Odegaard and Bruno Fernandes, at the top teams, they have to do stuff off the ball.

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"They're probably the hardest workers, and they're the most naturally-gifted as well.

"Teams are more playing with eights rather than tens now, so you don't have that luxury of (thinking) 'oh I can just come in and out of games when I want'.

"It doesn't work like that in this day and age."

Hoti was at Rochdale from the age of 10 to 18 and was offered a professional deal at Spotland but turned it down, and ended up going to play in Scotland for Dundee United.

He also spent time at Forfar Athletic in Scottish League One and Arbroath in the Scottish Championship.

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"At first it was difficult, being used to being away from family and friends," he said of his time north of the border.

"It helped me grow off the pitch as much as on it.

"It helped me mature as a man."

Hoti's best run in the Dundee United side was over the first-half of the 2021-22 season, playing nine games, including in a 1-0 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox.

"It was really good, I can't even describe the atmosphere and the noise, it was unbelievable," says Hoti, who came on in the 65th minute in-front of nearly 50,000 spectators.

"It's something else, it's different. Level-wise, there's a difference between the top two teams and the rest in Scotland but playing them away, it's a different kind of atmosphere which is a good experience for a young player getting thrown into the first-team."

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Hoti was signed by Micky Mellon at Tranmere Rovers in March, who had managed him at Dundee United, who then left the club soon afterwards, causing Hoti to fall out of favour

Town boss Chris Millington only needed to see Hoti for half-an-hour in that trial game to be convinced of his qualities.

"A friend of mine mentioned there was an opportunity at Halifax so I thought 'yeah, I'll go in, why not'," Hoti said.

"The gaffer, after seeing me, just pulled me to the side and I think he knew I'd be a player he wanted to sign.

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"We talked about what the club's like, what he can do for me, what he wants from me, what we can expect from each other.

"It's a good mix of older and younger players, I think the gaffer's got the balance in the squad spot on."

Hoti qualifies for Kosovo through his parents and has played for their under 21s.

The midfielder is also eligible for Albania and was called up for both nations' under 21 teams at the same time.

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He made his under 21 debut in June 2021, most recently playing for them in March.

Kosovo were in the same European Championship qualifying group as England, who went on to win the tournament.

"I played against England at MK Dons," he said. "We lost 2-0 but considering they've got a team full of Premier League footballers, we held our own. It was a good experience.

"I'm really passionate about playing for my country because it's a feeling you don't really get in club football."