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Elneny: I was a kid when Al Ahly told me they didn’t want me
The 23-year-old started his career with Egypt’s giants Al Ahly, but at the mere age of 14, the club let him go, and he moved to minnows Arab Contractors.
In the interview with Arsenal Magazine, Elneny spoke about that chapter of his life and how he dealt with the disappointment, first off by referencing to the Quran: “You might hate something that ends up being good for you,” he said.
“I was a kid when Al Ahly told me they didn’t want me. Everything was dark for me at that stage – it was such a difficult time for me.
“When I told my dad he was sad too because I didn’t make it. I was 14 years old and had already spent half my life there.
“Football meant everything to me, and all of a sudden my dream and my father’s dream was over.”
After three years with the Arab Contractors, the Egyptian caught the eye of FC Basel and joined them on loan during January 2013, but later completed a permanent move to the Swiss side during the summer of the same year.
In an interview conducted by KingFut with the former head coach of the Egyptian national team, Bob Bradley, he spoke about the midfielder, calling him a great example of ‘hard work and humility’. He also added saying, “He continued to improve at Basel and has earned the opportunity at Arsenal. I know he will continue to rise.”
Elneny might have been rejected by Al Ahly, but that did not mean that his dream or his father was over. He joined Arsenal in January 2016, has already won Arsenal Player of the Month award for two consecutive times. He revealed that he still talks with his father after some games to know what he thinks, saying, “I play for Arsenal now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need him anymore.”
To read Elneny’s full interview with his new club, follow this link to order a copy of the May 2016 edition of the Arsenal Magazine.