New Arsenal signing Mohamed Elneny hopes to blaze a trail for Egyptian players in the Premier League. The 23-year-old midfielder joined the Gunners from Swiss club Basel earlier in January and has revealed he is proud to have become the first player from Egypt to play for the north London club.
Elneny said he feels a weight of responsibility to other Egyptian players to prove they are able to thrive in the Premier League. "Every player would be so proud to play for Arsenal, if they were Egyptian or not Egyptian," he told Arsenal Player. "Being the first Egyptian player to play for Arsenal is a great honour and that makes me very happy.
"I am very keen to work hard in the Premier League – that's for my own reputation and Egypt's reputation, and to show everyone that Egyptian players are capable of playing very well in the Premier League."
Arsenal's latest signing revealed he has fulfilled his father's ambition of playing for one of the Premier League's top clubs. "My father is a football coach back home in Egypt in my town, Almahalah," he said. "He has a big passion for football and he always made sure that I accompanied him at every match he had been to, and the training sessions as well. He always had the dream and loved to see me as a footballer.
"We would play in the hot weather for more than 10 hours sometimes. That is very normal in Egypt. I was the same as any Egyptian kid because we all have a very strong passion for football. We would head straight to the football grounds as soon as we left the classroom.
"My parents played a big role in creating this passion in me towards football and they encouraged me to play football. It is really nice and important to have such encouraging parents, I am really grateful to them."
Elneny was named on the bench for Arsenal's goalless draw against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on 17 January.