Former Egypt striker Ahmed 'Mido' Hossam has hailed Stoke City's recent signing of Ramadan Sobhi, insisting that the Egyptian winger has all the necessary skills to succeed in the English Premier League.
Earlier on Monday, the English side officially announced the signing of the 19-year-old Sobhi from Egyptian league champions Ahly in a deal that could see a transfer fee of up to six million euros ($6.59 million).
“It’s very exciting. For me, [Sobhi] is the best young player I’ve seen in years. He has everything. He’s strong, and his technical ability is amazing," the former Tottenham and Middlesbrough striker Mido said in an interview with stokecityfc.com.
"He’s clever, he’s comfortable in one-on-one situations and he can assist and score goals as well. But, the most important thing for me is he has the character, he has a big personality and is not scared of big occasions," Mido said.
"I’m not worried about Ramadan when it comes to the Premier League because he has everything to succeed in such a strong league," added the current football advisor to the Belgian side Lierse.
“He’s a great player and the only thing I would say is that he needs to be patient. I think that he is ready for the Premier League but maybe it will take a little bit of time to adapt to a new country and the league. He’s physically and mentally strong and it may take him seven or eight weeks to get used to the team but once he’s ready he will make a big difference. The Premier League is at a greater standard than the Egyptian league, obviously, but the boy is ready.”
Egyptians' attention focused on Stoke City
One of the best players in the Egyptian League last season, Sobhi was a standout performer as Ahly wrestled the league title from arch-rivals Zamalek thanks in part to his outstanding skills that enabled him to score five league goals and help create eight others, rescuing his team from many near-defeats single-handedly.
Since his departure, the Red Devils have produced lacklustre performances and are on the brink of elimination from the African Champions League.
“Everybody in Egypt is excited about Ramadan because they have seen what he can do and they will be intrigued to know if he can do it in a league they all love. The Premier League is so popular in the Middle East and people will be watching all the games," said Mido, who retired from football in 2013.
"I remember when I was at Tottenham or Middlesbrough and people would stay up to watch my games. For Ramadan, it will be no different, he comes from a big club in Al-Ahly and their fans amongst a lot of Egyptians will be excited to see him play in the Premier League.”
Mido's advice for Sobhi
Playing for a host of European clubs like Ajax, Celta Vigo, Marseille and AS Roma, veteran Mido had his own advice for Sobhi.
“I have spoken to him, I told him what to expect from the Premier League. It’s a physical league and is different to what he is used to in Egypt," explained the former Ismaily and Zamalek coach.
"I will be speaking to him again in a few weeks when he comes over and settles down. He’s a strong guy and won’t have many problems when it comes to playing."
When asked about the expected effect of the Potters' passionate fans on Ramadan, Mido insisted that the Pharaohs' young star will have no problem at all.
“He will be used to it, believe me. Ahly is one of two biggest clubs in Egypt and fans are always going along to watch training and sometimes just for that they get 15 or 20,000 fans turn up. He will have no problem dealing with a large crowd or the pressure of the supporters, he is used to it. He comes from a big club and usually they play their games in front of 70,000, it will be no problem for him.”
After Sobhi's signing, Mido said he expected a great season for Stoke under the guidance of their coach Mark Hughes.
“Mark Hughes is doing a terrific job and he wants to play good attacking football. He believes in his team, but what I like about him is that he will try to play and attack against big teams with an open style," Mido said.
"I think with Ramadan joining, he will add a lot of value and a lot of quality in to the team. With a few more positive additions, I’d expect Stoke to enjoy another good season in the top half," concluded the former Zamalek coach.
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