Egypt international defender Ahmed Hegazi discussed the 2018 World Cup and what Egypt should expect from their opponents, in addition to his time playing abroad in both Italy and England.
Ahmed Hegazi’s club West Brom are fighting for survival in the Premier League and it’s not going to be an easy task as they will have to collect points against teams like Manchester United, Liverpool, and Tottenham.
“There is a difference between the English Premier League and the Seria A, same goes for the lifestyle in the two countries,” the former Fiorentina defender told MBC Masr TV channel.
“Life in Italy is a bit similar to life in Egypt. There are a lot of areas and places that are similar to areas in Egypt. But in England things are different,” he added. “It’s a more professional atmosphere in England and you have to adapt quickly. West Brom helped me a lot with this.”
He pointed out that thanks to his previous experiences playing for Al Ahly and the Egyptian national team, he was able to adjust to his surroundings fast.
“A football player starting in Europe starts from the ground up. In Egypt, when you’re walking in the streets everyone knows who you are and understand your value, but in Europe, things are not like that when you first start.”
As for his move from Al Ahly to England in July 2017 on a season-long loan deal first then joining the club permanently, Hegazi assured that he knew that some clubs were interested in signing him back when he was playing in the 2017 African Cup of Nations in Gabon but said that the time was not right to expand on this.
“As a player, you must be focused all the time, in addition to that, I was in the middle of the season with Al Ahly which made it even harder. I decided to postpone this for a bit and then managed to move to West Brom in the summer,” he explained.
The West Brom defender is one of the names, who pretty much booked their place in the World Cup squad, but it remains to be seen who will play alongside him, Ali Gabr, Rami Rabia or Saad Samir.
He illustrated the importance of the national team’s preparations for the World Cup since all of their opponents are strong and play well.
Egypt will be facing Uruguay in their first match of the group on June 15, before they meet hosts Russia on June 19 and the Arabian derby with Saudi Arabia on June 25.
“All Arab national team are very strong and so are the African teams. We have to work hard to perform well in the World Cup. We wish to be the best Arab national team.”
The Pharaohs qualified to the World Cup after Mohamed Salah scored a last-gasp penalty that won his side an extremely tense game.
Hegazi recalled the game saying that after Congo scored an equalizer, all he was thinking of was ‘getting the ball and sending it towards Congo’s goal’ which resulted in Mahmoud Trezeguet winning a penalty kick in the dying minutes of the game which Salah brilliantly scored.
The former Ismaily defender sent a message to all Egyptian players playing abroad saying: “The presence of a number of Egyptians in England is like a message being sent to the world that every player should embrace”
“Each player must show his mentality, commitment and good performances to make the world know the value of Arab players. Those who preceded us did so and now we have to build on what they presented.”
Hegazi and his teammates, who currently sit at the bottom of the table, travel away to Old Trafford on Sunday as they face league’s second-placed Manchester United. The Baggies look to claim three points on Sunday to revive their hopes of safety in the league this season.