File photo of Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny (Reuters)
Former Arsenal and Brazil star midfielder Gilberto Silva praised Egypt’s Mohamed Elneny, saying he is one of the high-quality midfielders in Arsenal with playing techniques similar to Silva's and the Gunners’ legend Patrick Vieira.
Silva, who won with Brazil the 2002 World Cup and was one of the invincible Arsenal players who snatched the 2004 Premier League unbeaten, said Arsenal have been struggling in recent years due to the lack of high-quality players and those who can cover the ground in defensive midfield like himself or Vieira.
“The only one who looks like it could have been Mohamed Elneny, who was not playing,” Silva was quoted as saying in an interview with France Football Magazine on Monday.
"Arsenal plays offensive football and it is not easy to find a player who can contribute to their game and work in the shadows to shield the defence," he added.
The 27-year-old midfielder Elneny joined Arsenal in January 2016 upon the request of their legend coach Arsene Wenger who hoped Elneny would fit in his team. Wenger gave the Egyptian a long-term contract and several chances to play.
But when Unai Emery took charge of the Gunners, Elneny was not among the new coach’s plans. Emery gave him fewer chances until he went on loan to the Turkish side Besiktas in September 2020.
Elneny joined Arsenal from FC Basel. He participated in 89 games, scored two goals and provided eight assists in all competitions.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)