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Ex-Arsenal winger Robert Pirès: Elneny faces tough competition

Elneny, Robert Pirès

(Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images)

Former Arsenal winger Robert Pirès spoke to Al-Ain.com about Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny, the possibility of Arab players moving to the English Premier League, and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Pirès is familiar with the current Arsenal squad players as he is present at the training ground regularly and often trains with the team, being a club ambassador.

He is confident that Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal squad are both capable of winning the English Premier League, but warns that the competition is fierce.

“I have a good relationship with Wenger and the club. His main objective is to win the league, but that is not easy as the English Premier League is highly competitive,” said Robert Pirès.

“I was with Wenger during the first pre-season friendly and since then, he’s been encouraging and motivating his players,” recalled Pirès.

“I watch the players in training and they can win the league, but we must not forget the other teams that have the same objective like Manchester City, Tottenham, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United,” said the 43-year-old.

Pirès also commented on Arsene Wenger’s long stint as Arsenal manager and the possibilty of leaving at the end of the season.

“Wenger has had a successful time and has won many trophies,” he said, and continued, “I have a feeling that he will stay and I also think that he needs to stay, because Arsenal need him at this time.”

When asked about Elneny, Pirès praised the player but pointed out the obstacles he has to overcome to get a starting position.

He began, “I watch him in training, he is a really good player. He can run all day, and he has great vision and awareness on the field.”

“But he has to compete with other great players for his position. Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin usually start, and there’s Granit Xhaka, but Elneny still starts,” he explained.

Finally, he spoke about the increasing number of Arab players in the English Premier League, the good example they are setting, and the doors they are opening.

“The Arab players we have now are very good and have great technical abilities. Look at Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez, he has won the PFA Player of the Year and led his team to the trophy. Islam Slimani joined him at Leicester City this season, and I think more players will be making a move to the English Premier League,” he reflected.

 

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