Every word Mo Elneny said on ‘Egyptian Messi’ label, new contract and advice Mikel Arteta gave him


You’ve become an important member of this squad again. Did you think you would get that chance?

I expected to come back because I want to always be with the biggest team. I’m really happy to be in Arsenal. When I was on loan I was thinking all the time that I need to get back to Arsenal, be in the squad and play. That’s why I worked really hard at Besiktas and built myself up to come back stronger.

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What are your ambitions now at Arsenal?

Of course I want to always be in the first XI, I will be available to play all the time. I do everything I have to be in the starting eleven. If Mikel decides for me to be in the pitch, I do everything in training and build myself to be available. If he thinks I can start I will start, if he thinks I can be on the bench when I come in I’ll do my best to hold my position. I need to always be available to help my team-mates.

What do you think of the ‘Egyptian Messi’ nickname?

I’m always happy when I do things to make our fans happy, my family and friends happy. I always work hard for my team-mates, for the club and for my family. When I hear something nice from the fans of course it makes me happy.

What did Mikel Arteta say to you when you came back this summer?

Before I came back Mikel didn’t speak to me until I arrived at the start of the season he said ‘Mo, we have to understand how I want the midfielders to play. If you don’t understand something from the new system just come to ask me’. He helped me so much to understand the way he wants us to play which helped me a lot. After the final against Liverpool he sat down with me and reviewed my pre-seaon and the game against Liverpool. It was something really good for me to start the season with.

Have you been working on scoring goals?

Every day after training with Steve [Round], after training is finished he takes me for shooting training. I need to work on this because when I score goals everything becomes good for me. It’s a nice feeling for me to help my team win the games and improve myself. This is something really nice and I need to keep working all the time?

Mohamed Elneny in action for Arsenal against Southampton (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Which is the favourite goal you scored?

Always the favourite for me is the one against Barcelona. It was my first goal for Arsenal and it was the first game for me in the Champions League. It was nice to score and seeing the goal after I felt amazing.

Has Aubameyang apologised to the squad?

Auba is one of the best players we have. And as a teammate outside of the pitch he is a brilliant person. Mikel spoke about this and finished everything. As a teammate he’s one of the best, he’s always laughing. Auba is our captain and he always supports us outside of the pitch and is an amazing person also.

Do you feel let down by Aubameyang?

I think this question is for Mikel more than me and he made sure he answered this question.

Do you think it’s appropriate that players are going on international duty?

It’s our national team and our country. It’s something really important for every player. When we go to the national team we feel proud of ourselves because it’s our country and for our families. It’s something that is good for the player I think.

What message does the Aubameyang issue send to the rest of the squad about discipline?

About Auba we are happy with him. He’s always there for us and like I said he’s our captain. Everything we want we can speak with him. He’s one of the best players and kind players we have. He’s always happy and gives you positive energy around the team. He’s an amazing player and I don’t know what’s happened the other day, Mikel has finished the situation.

What are you memories of the 2019 final?

It was painful because we went all the way to the final then we lost. The feeling was not nice at all, it was really painful. Especially as before with Basel I lost in the semi-final. I hope this year we can take the Europa League because the feeling before the game was like we can win the big trophy. Inshallah this year we’re going to work hard to achieve and win the Europa League.

Is the dream for you to sign a new deal and be at this club long-term?

Of course for me I always loved Arsenal. If Arsenal said to me sign a new contract of course I will be happy to do this.

You’re going to come up against Valbuena tomorrow. He’s an important player for them?

Olympiacos have many good players. It will be a tough game for us and in football you cannot say it’s finished. Football can surprise you all the time. We forget about the last match and play it like 0-0. We will make everything clear for us inshallah to go through to the next round.

Do you feel Alex Lacazette gets unfair criticism?

He’s an amazing player for us. He’s scored so many goals for the team. He’s an amazing player and loves to score. He always trains after training for finishing.

Is there any player you are worried about from Olympiacos?

Alhamdulillah I’m never afraid of any player. Olympiacos is a good team and I know they have nothing to lose. They will come to try everything to win the game. We know this and we prepare for this. Tomorrow we have to win and follow our plan.

Have you spoken with Ahmed Hassan (Olympiacos and Egypt forward)?

Of course. He’s my friend and we always talk.

Martin Odegaard was named Norway captain last week. What qualities do you see in him that make him a good captain?

Martin is really good. He’s positive and I’m proud of him because he’s the captain of his country. It’s something really nice because I’ve been Egypt captain as well. It’s the best feeling. It’s something really good for him and he deserves it. He brought a lot of quality to our team and I wish he keeps going on like this.

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Is he more of a leader in training?

He’s really humble and you can see him all the team coaching players and talking about the games. I think he has the character to be a captain.

Do you think he could stay beyond next season?

Yes we wish. He has the quality and is a really good people. He scored two goals recently and understands everything about the structure and the way we play. He’s been amazing.





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