Arsene Wenger was impressed with Mohamed Elneny’s Arsenal debut in our FA Cup win over Burnley, but stressed that the Egyptian international is not yet fully ready for the rigours of the English game, as reported by ESPN.
Elneny’s first taste of English football was a good one, with the former FC Basel star contributing to our 2-1 win and progression to the fifth round of the FA Cup. He certainly wasn’t faultless, but it was a decent display from the 23-year-old, who played both a box-to-box and a deeper lying role in midfield.
Wenger was pleased with how his new signing grew into the game, and stressed that this first match would be a learning experience for him. He believes the newest member of the Arsenal squad will have some adjusting to do, but is confident he has what it takes.
“I felt he started a bit cautious, played a bit secure, then became more adventurous and had some good shots on goal,” Wenger said.
“His mobility, his work rate was exceptional. For the rest, he needs to adjust to the power of the game in the Premier League.
“This was a good welcome today. Certainly he has learned a lot today. It will take him some time to adjust to the power side of our game here, but the intentions, the mobility and the technical level are good.”
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Elneny certainly showed impressive signs, although perhaps not as the player we all thought we were getting. We know he’s a versatile midfielder, but with Francis Coquelin starting alongside him he was playing more of an advanced role.
We regularly saw him as the furthest forward Arsenal player, and he was picking adventurous passes and taking long shots whenever he had the chance. He played a slightly more disciplined role late on in the second half, but by that time Burnley weren’t getting forward as much as they had done.
His energy levels were certainly impressive, and he clearly wasn’t afraid to get stuck in. Whether he’ll offer the same levels of defensive protection as Coquelin though, remains to be seen.
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If he can provide that defensive stability then we may well have found a truly well rounded midfielder, capable of providing us with a little bit of everything.