Egypt's 2019 AFCON player profiles: Ayman Ashraf, the first-choice left back

Ahram Online , Thursday 20 Jun 2019,
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Ayman Ashraf of Egypt

The fact that Ahly's Ayman Ashraf was given the nod ahead of Zamalek's in-form left-back Abdallah Gomaa surprised many observers, leaving the former with a big task to prove doubters wrong.

Ashraf mainly plays as a central defender for Cairo giants Ahly, but Egypt coach Javier Aguirre is likely to rely on him as his first-choice left-back.

He was part of Egypt's squad for last year's World Cup in Russia but hasn't made a single appearance, with former boss Hector Cuper preferring to field Ahmed Hegazi and Ali Gabr in the center of defence and Mohamed Abdel-Shafi as a left-back.

A string of injuries that hit Ahly's defenders over the course of the season left them with no choice but to play Ashraf as a central defender.  But that does not mean he can't assume his original role on the flank.

His versatility could be an asset for Aguirre, who hasn't picked any other natural left-back in his roster.

Ashraf started as a left-back in Egypt's 1-0 friendly win over Tanzania ahead of the Nations Cup, before being substituted in the second half.

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