From the Black Country to Russia via Egypt: Sam Morsy living the World Cup dream
He’s a former Wolverhampton schoolboy who’s now living his dream as a World Cup star.
Sam Morsy is about to make his appearance on the world’s biggest stage when he joins the Egyptian national side in the tournament.
It is the first time in 28 years that Egypt will be one of 32 teams competing in the tournament which gets under way in Russia today.
And Sam, who currently plays for Championship side Wigan, is among their 23-man squad.
The 26-year-old qualifies for The Pharaohs through his father Mekawy who moved to England in 1976 and is now a property developer.
He has come a long way since he was a football-loving schoolboy at Christ Church Junior School, in Wolverhampton, and later a student atThomas Telford.
The national call-up completes a remarkable turnaround for the midfielder who was snapped up by Wolves aged seven but released at 16.
WATCH Sam's Egypt debut:
Now though his skills have landed him a place in a team that also includes Liverpool sensation Mo Salah and Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny.
Mekawy Morsy – who has three other sons – is incredibly proud of Sam’s achievements.
“Like any parent, it always fills you with pride to see your child doing well,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter what industry they are in, I am proud whenever I see my boys doing well.
“For Sam though, playing in a World Cup is a dream come true.
“When he was seven years old he was kicking a football with other kids in Wolverhampton and Chris Evans, who was the director of the youth academy at Wolves, was also there with his child.
"He approached us and said I think you need to bring him to us ASAP. We went, Sam had a trial and they signed him immediately.
“He progressed massively, he was really well trained so we feel we owe it all to Chris despite Wolves going onto release him.
“He had been a professional footballer and he was the one that advised us to go to Wolves.”
Despite being let go from Wolves, Mekawy said his son ensured he wouldn’t let the disappointment of leaving Molineux stop him from becoming a professional.
“Sam was determined to show Wolves what they were missing,” he continued.
“He was snapped up by Port Vale and did very well there and then Paul Cook took him to Chesterfield.
“Cook really believed in him. He’s adopted him really, and he’s now got him at Wigan where they have had great success.
“They won promotion to the Championship last season as champions. Paul Cook has really helped him become the player he is.” Mekawy says he is still unsure if he and his family will fly out to Russia to see his son in action.
“I’m hopeful we will go and see a few games but if not we’ll watch him on TV.
“But it’s been 28 years since Egypt were last at a World Cup so it’s not only exciting for Sam, it’s also a huge honour for him to be involved.
Sam said:“I remember watching the World Cup at my friend’s house and now to play on this stage, against players like Luis Suarez, will be a dream come true for me,” he said.
“Seeing all my family in Egypt support me and how proud they have been has been amazing. It is a big family we have in Egypt.
“All my Dad’s side: cousins, aunties, uncles.
“They are really proud. I am the first person in the family to represent Egypt. It is like a dream for them.
“When I see my cousins, they say ‘this is our dream’ and I genuinely believe that.”