The low-down on West Brom's new loanee Ahmed Hegazi
Loan signing Ahmed Hegazi impressed on his debut against Leicester City this week. So we spoke to Egyptian sports journalist Eslam Magdy from FilGoal for an expert’s view on Albion’s new ‘Nesta of the Pyramids’.
Q) What sort of player are West Brom getting in Hegazi?
He is very good in the air, and as you saw against Leicester, he is the type of physical player that Tony Pulis likes. He’s definitely suited to his style.
Not only is he the best defender in Egypt, he’s probably one of the best in Africa, and was picked in the team of the tournament for the African Cup of Nations earlier this year.
Q) Does he have what it takes to play first-team football in the Premier League?
He’s already played in Europe with Fiorentina and our national coach Héctor Cúper relies on him heavily.
He is a very determined player who doesn’t fear anything. A lot of people predicted he would go to the Premier League because it suits his style well.
Although he knows it won’t be easy to get into the first team, I think he is more than up for the challenge. Give him some time and he could become one of Albion’s most notable players.
Q) Should Albion fans be worried about his injury record?
He had some bad luck in Italy. He had a great debut for Fiorentina, scored a goal, but then ruptured his anterior cruciate knee ligaments. But he’s come back strongly and I would argue is better than ever now.
He doesn’t have a long catalogue of injuries though. There is a slight misunderstanding about his absence in games in Egypt. We have a long season that lasts 11 months so managers often rest players.
Q) Who do you think got the best deal – Al Ahly or West Brom?
Both, I guess. West Brom have got a talented and experienced 26-year-old at a cheap price. Al Ahly, due to the currency rate, got quite a lot of money for them.
But they lost a great defender ahead of an important period in the season, so the biggest gain is probably for Albion.
Q) Will this signing boost WBA’s profile in Egypt and the surrounding area?
Everyone in Egypt loves him because he is one of our best players in the national team. Al Ahly fans will continue to support him, and there’s no doubt this will raise the profile of West Brom in the area.
The same happened for Basel, Chelsea, Roma, and now Liverpool for Mohamed Salah, as well as Sunderland and Hull for Ahmed Elmohamady.