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Egypt's Ramadan Sobhi a work in progress at Stoke City

Hatem Maher , Tuesday 21 Nov 2017
Sobhi
Soccer Football - Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion vs Stoke City - The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Britain - November 20, 2017 Stoke City's Ramadan Sobhi in action with Brighton's Anthony Knockaert Reuters
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Ramadan Sobhi's disappointing form this season has led to doubts over whether he can really realize his potential, having showcased unquestionable talent in his early days with Egypt's Ahly and English Premier League side Stoke City.

But the 20-year-old has recently shown he is still a work in progress, gradually winning back his place in the Stoke line-up.

Ramadan started Stoke's last three matches in the Premier League against Watford, Leicester City and Brighton, playing as a left-winger and deep-lying forward.

He was taken off in the latter stages of the 1-0 win over Watford and the 2-2 draw with Leicester but played the full 90 minutes in Monday's 2-2 draw with Brighton, producing flashes of his brilliant best.

He was given a more advanced role against Brighton, bamboozling challengers with his trademark feints down the left flank and having a close-range effort blocked by the keeper after a neat one-two with Joe Allen early in the second half.

Ramadan's recent dip in form is considered by many as mainly because he is confined to the bench.

When he was called up to play in Egypt's crucial World Cup qualifying games against Uganda and Congo, he looked to be struggling to beat challengers in one-on-ones in stark contrast to what he used to do either at Cairo gitants Ahly or at Stoke when he joined in the summer of 2016.

But Hughes is showing signs he can rely more on Ramadan after including him in his starting line-up for three straight matches.

Against Brighton, Ramadan skipped past his markers five times out of eight attempts and successfully completed 90 percent of his passes. The statistics indicate that gaining match practice is the only way forward for the talented winger.

Ramadan has only scored one competitive goal since joining Stoke, finding the net in a 4-0 victory over League One side Rochdale in the League Cup second round in August.

However, Stoke made a bold move by tying him down to a new five-year contract in the summer, making it clear that Ramadan is part of their plans for the future.

And the player said on more than one occasion that he is willing to wait for his chance.

"Ramadan plays under pressure every match as if he just wants to prove he is a good signing. He has to be calm and patient," said former Ahly great Mohamed Abou-Treika.

"Ramadan is Egypt's next big thing, after [Liverpool winger] Mohamed Salah."

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 
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