Ahly defender Rami Rabia (photo: Bassam El-Zoghby)
Playing in the English Premier League is a dream for Egypt U-20 skipper Rami Rabia, and his country is placing high hopes in him to help them beat England to continue in their World Cup campaign.
The young Pharaohs are set to face England in the final game of the World Cup group stage in Turkey, searching for a place in the 16th round of the tournament on Saturday.
The Egyptian team is on the brink of U-20 World Cup exit after losing their first two games. They suffered a 2-1 loss to Chile, as well as to Iraq.
“The English league is definitely my favourite,” Rabia told FIFA’s website.
“I don’t have a particular team I support but I love watching all the great sides: Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United. That’s the kind of football I love and my hope is definitely to play there at one stage in my career. It’s my dream, and I think it’s the kind of league that would suit me.
"Some English clubs have been mentioned as being interested in me, and I know Arsene Wenger said some nice things about my performances for Ahly at the Club World Cup. I don’t know what will come of that but I know I need to do well here and show everyone that I am a good player," the 20-year-old defender, who played a key role in helping Egypt win the U-20 African Championship in March, added.
If Rabia helps his team beat the Three Lions on Saturday, the highly-rated defender could fulfill his dream of playing abroad.
"It’s a very big responsibility for me to be captain and a very big honour too,” the versatile Ahly player said.
“I really appreciate the coach putting this faith in me, especially because I missed all of the friendly matches and the preparation work before this tournament due to an injury. I only came back a few days before our first game, so I didn’t expect this honour and I know I owe the coach a lot.
"As captain, I have been trying to speak to the players and build their confidence back up because I can see that some of them have been nervous about playing in a World Cup.
“We all know we should have done a lot better. But the most important thing for us now is to win and give the Egypt fans something to cheer, because their support for us here in Turkey has been great.
"The players are all hurt by what has happened but we have looked closely at our mistakes and everyone is determined to turn things around. We still believe we can do something," he concluded.
Earlier in May, Sky Sports said that Premier League champions Manchester United and Europa League winners Chelsea are among a host of clubs chasing Rabia.
It also said that German duo Borussia Dortmund and Schalke and French side Lille are keeping tabs on him.
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