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Mikel Arteta admits Mohamed Elneny ‘had doubts’ and lacked self-belief at Arsenal


Mikel Arteta admits Mohamed Elneny ‘had doubts’ over his future at Arsenal (Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta believes Mohamed Elneny’s lack of self-belief hindered his chances of making an impact at Arsenal.

The Egypt international was signed during Arsene Wenger’s reign in January 2016 but after an encouraging start his appearances dwindled.

In Unai Emery’s first season at the club, Elneny started just five Premier League games before the Spaniard allowed the midfielder to join Besiktas on loan last year.

However, Elneny returned to Arsenal this summer and has impressed Arteta with his attitude.

The 28-year-old started alongside Granit Xhaka in Arsenal’s midfield on Saturday as the Gunners sealed a 3-0 victory over Fulham in their opening Premier League game of the season.

And when asked if Elneny is a big part of his plans for the upcoming campaign, Arteta told Arsenal’s official website: ‘Well I really like Mo and what he bring to the squad in terms of his personality as well.

Mohamed Elneny impressed as Arsenal sealed a 3-0 win over Fulham (AFP via Getty Images)

‘And then at a football level, I think he needed a little bit of belief.

‘He had some doubts whether we could trust him or not. I had a lot of conversations with him.

‘He fully deserves his chance. He trains every day with the best spirit, he wants to learn, and he’s performing really well.’

Arteta has also suggested that Elneny could ‘make it difficult’ for other midfielders to win a place in Arsenal’s side.

‘My job is to get everybody at his highest level and doing their best,’ said the Arsenal manager.

‘We have some other examples with Mo and Rob [Holding], Ainsley [Maitland-Niles] as well, they are at their best at the moment and that’s going to make it difficult for the rest.

‘They have to step up and fight for their places. When they are playing, perform, and when they are not, support their teammates.’

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