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Wenger on Elneny’s debut + thoughts on Sanchez’s fitness
Arsene Wenger has offered his thoughts on Mohamed Elneny’s debut against Burnley while he also says Alexis Sanchez is now physically ready after recovering from a hamstring injury.
After being an unused substitute in each of our last three games since joining the club earlier this month, Elneny was finally handed his full debut as he started against Burnley in our FA Cup clash this afternoon.
The Egyptian international put in a solid shift in the middle of the park as he played in the box-to-box role alongside Francis Coquelin during the 2-1 victory, and he showed he has an eye for goal after going close with several long-range efforts.
Wenger thought Elneny started off cautiously but grew in to the game and although he’s going to have to adjust to the physical nature of English football, Arsene believes his mobility and work rate was ‘exceptional’ today.
Sanchez made his first start in over eight weeks after recovering from a hamstring injury and the Chilean super-star showed us exactly what we’ve been missing after netting a second half winner.
Wenger says he’s been cautious not to bring Alexis back too soon and feels the attacker is now completely ready on the physical front, which is a huge boost as we head in to the second half of the season.
Here is what the boss told Arsenal.com:
on Elneny’s debut…
I felt he started a bit cautious, played a bit secure. He became more adventurous, he had some good shots on goal. His mobility, his work rate was exceptional and for the rest, he needs to adjust to the power of the game in the Premier League. This was a good welcome today and certainly he has learnt a lot today. It will take him some time to adjust to the power side of our game here, but the intelligence, the mobility and the technical level are good.
[It was his first start] for eight or nine weeks. When I saw Derby against Burnley, I had a little hesitation to pick the three [Alexis, Coquelin, Elneny]. But the fact that we played at home, I thought we could manage to get away with it. Alexis I was not too much worried about on the fitness front because I kept him out two weeks ago and he was already there physically. We had some worries about his muscle but today he came through well and you could see that physically, he is ready.