Mikel Arteta paid homage to Mohamed Elneny’s positive personality after the Egypt international produced a brilliant performance in midfield alongside Thomas Partey to help Arsenal to a 1-0 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Eyebrows were raised when the 28-year-old was selected ahead of Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos for such an important game but he proved his doubters wrong with an energetic performance that was unrelenting.
Having played alongside Elneny during the tail-end of his playing career, Arteta was quick to bring the Egyptian back into the fold this summer following his loan at Besiktas. He’s not surprised that his decision has been rewarded by wholehearted commitment and a positive attitude.
“What Mo transmits to the team is special,” Arteta told his post-game press conference. “He has this energy as a person.
“He goes in the room and he creates that atmosphere. Today I said that we needed that energy and that positive feeling that he brings all the time. I think he was tremendous.
“Obviously I played with him so I know his qualities and who he is as a person, and what he brings to the squad. I like players that have zero ego, who play for the team, who want to contribute regardless of what it is, whether that’s one minute or 96 minutes or just by being there and giving positive feedback all the time.
“He contributes to our culture and is a person who admired by everyone at the football club. And now I think his qualities he’s showing as a footballer, I always believed he had them.”
Arteta’s comments are very similar to those made by Arsene Wenger back in 2018.
Just weeks after he’d penned a new deal at the club, the Egyptian was performing well for the Gunners in the Europa League helping us through a tricky tie against CSKA Moscow.
“He a super-popular player and everybody inside the club loves him,” the Frenchman said at the time.