As Arsenal fans await the debut of Mohamed Elneny, his former head coach is giving everyone a little information to get excited about.
Former USA head coach Bob Bradley was in charge of the Egyptian national team from 2011-2013, giving the new Arsenal man 25 of his 39 Egypt caps to date. So, surely he knows him better than most people do?
“He is an all-round midfielder capable of playing different roles,” Bradley said, echoing the thoughts of Arsène Wenger. “He reads the game, he moves well and he can play a little bit deeper.
“He…can play deeper when needed, he can move forward and shoot from distance but he’s not just a guy who stays in there and breaks up plays.”
First choice defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin is excellent at breaking up play, but beyond that he doesn’t get too involved when Arsenal have the ball. It’s refreshing – given that Mikel Arteta can’t seem to stay fit – that Bradley sees Elneny as a slightly different type of player.
With Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla both injured, it even seems likely that Elneny can be back up for Aaron Ramsey as well as Francis Coquelin, and his ability to cover more than one midfield role could be invaluable to Arsenal.
“When Elneny started he was still young, he was only 19, but you could see that he trained really well every day. In the training he was improving technically. You could tell how he worked and how he wanted to get better. Little by little he became an important part of our team,” said Bradley.
“His passing got sharper. He started to improve his ability with long passes. He was always a player who didn’t hesitate to shoot from distance and at that time it wasn’t always that he was scoring a lot, but you could see all these starting points.”
That level of effort, and that willingness to improve is exactly what’s required from a player at the very top. Elneny recognises he’s at a top club now, and it’s down to him to keep working hard to prove his worth to the Gunners.
Maybe this weekend, after sitting out against Stoke City, the game against Chelsea will see Elneny handed his Arsenal debut.