STEVE Bruce has given a massive vote of confidence to young Egyptian Ahmed Elmohamady, backing him to continue impressing Sunderland crowds for years to come.
The 23-year-old made an immediate impact on the Black Cats’ campaign when Bruce converted him from right back to right winger.
Alhough the African’s influence has tailed off in the last few months as the rigours of his first Premier League campaign have caught up with him, his manager is still excited about the young prospect’s future.
He told the Echo: “Ahmed’s a little raw, but he’ll get a lot sharper with experience and when he comes back next season it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s come on again.”
Elmohamady is currently on a season-long loan from Egyptian side ENPPI.
But the paperwork is in place for the player’s move to Sunderland to be made permanent and Bruce, pictured right, said: “We’ll look to get the deal done at the right time.
“He’s tied down to us contractually so there’s no one else who can take him off us
“And we’re very happy with the way he’s played and to have him on board.
“I didn’t expect him to make the impact he has because he was still so young when we brought him over.
“But he’s got 22 caps for his country and he’s still only in his early 20s, so you know he’s got to have something.
“People look down a little on Egypt and I never know why – in the Fifa rankings last year they were ranked ninth in the world.
“I think sometimes you’ve got to cut people a little slack and consider just what they have to cope with.
“Ahmed has come over here to a completely different culture and way of life.
“It’s his first season in the Premier League and although he’s played on the right wing previously, he’s spent far more time in that position than he ever has done before.
“So he’s had a lot to absorb and it’s never a surprise when young players occasionally have a dip in odd games.
“But he is an exciting prospect and he’s got the attributes you need – pace, desire and physique – to succeed in the modern game.
“He’s quick, eager and great in the air and he’s a threat. He’s also got a great attitude – he just wants to play and that’s very refreshing for a manager.”