Mohamed Elneny says the support of his teammates and a desire to keep learning has formed the basis of his Arsenal renaissance under Mikel Arteta.
The Egypt international appeared to have one foot out of the door when Unai Emery sanctioned a loan move to Besiktas last year but after a positive year in the Turkish capital and a change of coach at the Emirates he’s back providing much-needed competition in the heart of midfield.
The 28-year-old announced his return with a spectacular strike in a pre-season friendly against MK Dons and promptly followed it up with sharp displays in the Community Shield against Liverpool and the Premier League win over Fulham.
Those performances and his enthusiasm in training have been enough to persuade Arteta, a former teammate, that he’s a bonafide option in central midfield alongside Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos and new boy Thomas Partey.
Reflecting on the turnaround, Elneny told Arsenal Digital: “Before I came to London, I didn’t speak to him [Arteta] and I was a bit…. not stressed, but just thinking about what would be like.
“When I sat with him, I said, ‘The way you train, the way you want to play is the way I love to play’ and really I love the way we train, the way he is assisting everything in the club now and it makes me excited to give 100 per cent for the team.
“Under Emery, I was not playing much, that is why you can lose your confidence and your feeling to play. That is why when I went to Besiktas, on a one-year loan, I played always and brought the confidence back, and when I came back here I saw everyone happy for me to come back.
“Everyone was excited to see me back, and when I trained, everyone gave me good feedback, saying ’Mo, you did well’ and this makes you get your confidence back. I will build it and build it and every day I try to learn new things.
He added: “Yes [I feel wanted], all the time, every day. I think in any job if you wake up in the morning, try to learn new things and try to improve every day… this is what is always in my mind when I wake up. I have to go training, I need to improve myself in everything.”
With an attitude like that you can understand why Arteta welcomed Elneny aboard his boat.