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Wenger analyzes Elneny’s qualities ahead of Burnley tie

Photo via Arsenal's Official Website

Photo via ’s Official Website

Arsène Wenger highlighted ’s stand-out qualities ahead of his expected debut against Burnley in the FA Cup on Saturday.

The Egyptian, who has had to settle for a place on the bench against Stoke City and Chelsea in the Premier League, will likely get the opportunity to make an impression on Arsenal fans against the Championship side on Saturday.

Ahead of the match, Wenger has outlined exactly what they should expect.

“He’s not a monster,” the manager told Arsenal’s official website. “Typically Middle Eastern people are very [wiry] with a big stamina and very agile.

“Sometimes they lack a bit of power, so he’s not a powerhouse, he’s more of a mobility player. That’s why I think he can suit our game.

“Winning the ball is not only down to power, it’s about switching on at the right moment. It’s a technique.

“You have players who are muscular and they lose fights against small players who are very slim because the smaller players are able to switch on at the right moment.

“It’s a real technique to know when to switch on. I remember small defensive midfielders who were unbelievable defensively. They had that kind of technique.

Elneny also joins the North London side with plenty of experience with FC Basel in the Swiss league, Champions League and Europa League and Wenger thinks this will serve him well going forward.

“He’s 23 years old, he played for three years in Basel, won three championships in Switzerland, played against English teams like Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool.

“The next step is a big one for him because to come out of Switzerland and get to the Premier League is not easy but it’s the right age for him.

When asked to compare Mohamed Elneny to other players in the Arsenal squad, Wenger was hesitant to give an answer but conceded that he can be a blend of a few players.

“He’s a player who has his own characteristics. He can move the ball quickly and I cannot really compare him to any of our players in our squad. He’s a bit between Flamini and Ramsey, a player who can defend and move the ball quickly.

“He’s a player who can certainly contribute a lot to our passing from the defensive areas to the final third. He can be very disciplined and win the ball back. He can make quick decisions, travels up and down the pitch well and, although he has to adjust to the Premier League, my first impression is very positive.

Finally, Wenger believes that efforts from the squad and the Egyptian will help Elneny will settle into the dressing room and English social culture.

“We have such a good mentality in our dressing room that the players who come from outside the dressing room are welcomed. Everybody contributes to his own integration in the team. He’s also a very respectful boy who wants to do very well, so that he will be well accepted in the dressing room.”

Michael Saad is an Egyptian-Canadian living in Toronto. A lifelong supporter of Zamalek through family inheritance, he covers the White Knights on KingFut and monitors the progression of the Egyptian national team carefully. Outside of Egyptian football, he is a passionate Arsenal and Toronto FC fan.

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