African All Stars

Elneny is phenomenal and one of the most important players in Arsenal squad – Arteta

09:49 WAT 23/04/2022
Mohamed Elneny
The Gunners manager showers praise on the 29-year-old Pharoah after his solid display against the Blues in the top-flight fixture on Wednesday

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has explained why Mohamed Elneny is an important player for the Gunners ahead of their Premier League fixture against Manchester United on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Egypt international has struggled for playtime under Arteta's reign but on Wednesday he was handed a starting role and helped the North London side defeat rivals Chelsea 4-2 at Stamford Bridge.

Arteta has showered praise on the player insisting he has always impressed whenever he gets a chance to play.

“I will say that for me, he’s one of the most important players in the squad. For what he does when you give him the chance to play and for the things that he does when he doesn’t play,” Arteta told the club’s official website.

“It’s a phenomenal person and then you have to judge the footballer as well that sometimes doesn’t get probably the credit that he deserves.”

Asked whether he played a part to convince Elneny to stay last summer, Arteta said: “It was more in January than the summer and I think he understood with the squad we had at that moment, that I could not let another player leave and it’s a tough balance because at the end.

“They are in a period in their career where they are looking to extend their football lives, but at the same time, I thought that he could be important for the team in the last part of the season.”

On whether Elneny will sign a new deal at the club, Arteta explained: “It’s another one where we’re going to have another conversation at the end of the season and see what we do with that one as well.

“I am really happy with him, that’s what I can say.”

In the current campaign, Elneny has managed eight appearances and raked in 260 minutes of play. He has been selected in the starting XI in two of these appearances across their 32 fixtures and has been mainly used off the bench as a substitute on six occasions.

In last season's Premier League, Elneny featured in 23 games for Arsenal and scored one goal. He returned to Arsenal in August 2020 after a loan spell at Besiktas, for whom he made 27 league appearances in total, scoring one goal and providing three assists.