AHMED Elmohamady insists David Meyler’s return will hand a boost to the Sunderland dressing room.
Meyler was a surprise last-minute substitute in Sunderland’s 2-2 draw with West Brom last weekend as the midfielder made his first appearance in more than eight months after sustaining knee ligament damage for the second time at Aston Villa last January.
The 22-year-old remains a long way short of competing for a starting spot and only found his way on to the first-team bench due to the absence of David Vaughan, Connor Wickham, Phil Bardsley and Titus Bramble.
But Meyler is a popular figure in the Sunderland camp and Egyptian winger Elmohamady, scorer of the equaliser against the Baggies, believes the return of the Irishman will boost morale.
Elmohamady told the Echo: “Meyler’s a fantastic player and I’m really pleased he came back.
“He’s a good lad around the dressing room and it’s hard for any player to come back from setbacks like that.
“To suffer two big injuries in eight months is really tough.
“But he’s got a lot of fight and he’ll help the team now.”
Meyler played a full 90 minutes in the reserves this week and is expected to play regularly for the second XI now as he moves towards full fitness.
Elmohamady, meanwhile, was one of Sunderland’s stand-out figures against West Brom, heading home Nicklas Bendtner’s cross for his first goal for the Black Cats.
The equaliser failed to spark what would have been only Sunderland’s second victory of the season though, with Steve Bruce’s men unable to find a winner after recovering from conceding twice within the first five minutes.
But Elmohamady is confident Sunderland will hit the winning trail, if they can maintain the standards set after the dire opening against the Baggies.
“It’s great to a get a first goal and it was a good move as well,” said Elmohamady, who missed Egypt’s final African Cup of Nations qualifier against Niger today as new manager Bob Bradley took a look at some of his fringe players.
“I wish it would have helped us win, but it’s difficult for any team after losing two goals in the first five minutes. Even Barcelona would struggle after a start like that!”
“But we came back in the first half and did very well and were unlucky with the chances that came our way in the second half.
“Some players are away now with their countries but everyone will be back for the game at Arsenal next Sunday which we are all looking forward to.”