Mohamed Elneny has expressed eagerness to face Uruguay as part of Team Egypt at the upcoming World Cup in Russia, stressing that the scheduled 15 June encounter will mark a memorable day in his football career.
The 25-year-old footballer sustained ankle ligament injury during Arsenal’s encounter with West Ham but is recuperating fast.
Egypt national team coach Hector Cuper assured fans of the North African country that Elneny and Mohamed Salah will be ready for their 2018 World Cup challenges.
“I still maintain the same hopes and ambitions and I will not lose that,” the 62-year-old told Egypt’s football governing body.
“Injuries happen and are possible in football and that’s why I stress on the importance of team work despite the significance of Salah [and Elneny] to the team.”
Elneny trained with his Egyptian teammates on Thursday ahead of Friday’s friendly with Colombia at Atleti Azzuri d’Italia, his most recent outing since the 22 April injury which ruled him out of the 2017-18 season.
The former Basel player was included in Cuper’s 29-man preliminary list for the World Cup and there are hopes that he will be 100 per cent fit for a first experience at the global tournament.
A tweet from the Egypt national team read, “With the participation of Elneny in the group training of the Egyptian team evening training in preparation for Columbia friendly match.”
— Egypt National Football Team (@Pharaohs) May 30, 2018
In their last preparation for Russia 2018 World Cup, the Pharaohs of Egypt will lock horns with Belgium on 6 June before their group A games against Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Elneny is hoping to represent Egypt in its first global tournament since 1990, with prayers that the game against Uruguay at Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg, will bring forth a positive lifetime experience.
Speaking about his contentment with what the Pharaohs have achieved so far, the Arsenal midfielder said: “It was all dreams on the night before we faced Congo during the qualifiers. I envisioned the referee’s final whistle ushering us into the World Cup list…I believe everyone in Egypt had the same dream.”
Elneny told Arsenal.com, “Egyptians are football-crazy. When we got a penalty, I felt so excited as if it was a ticket to the finals even though I knew we still had a 50/50 chance…Of course, my compatriots started celebrations even before we scored.
“We finally scored and won to have our dreams come true but I dedicate it to hard work…The feeling is good in Egypt when we win, but when there are losses, everyone is affected….I am excited and proud to have qualified for the World Cup. I can’t wait to play against Uruguay.”