Egypt have gambled on Mohamed Salah returning to fitness in the coming weeks by naming him in their 23-man squad for this month’s World Cup in Russia. Coach Hector Cuper on Monday also included Mohamed Elneny, the midfielder who has not played since April after suffering an ankle injury in action for Arsenal. Salah is still recovering from the shoulder ligament injury suffered in last month’s Champions League final when he went off early in the game in Kiev as Liverpool lost to Real Madrid.
Medical staff from Egypt and Liverpool have suggested it will be touch and go for the 25-year-old to be ready in time for the seven-time African champions’ opening World Cup Group A game against Uruguay in Ekaterinburg on June 15. Salah posted a picture of himself exercising his shoulder on social media on Sunday with a teasing caption of “good feelings” but no further comment on his progress. Egypt’s squad also includes veteran goalkeeper Essam El Hadary, who will be 45-years-old when his side play Uruguay. Should he feature, El Hadary would become the oldest person to play in the World Cup, beating the record the 43-year-old Colombian keeper Faryd Mondragon set in Brazil four years ago.
Egypt also meet Russia and Saudi Arabia in their group as they participate in the finals for the first time since 1990.
Goalkeepers: Sherif Ekramy (Al Ahly), Essam El Hadary (Al Taawoun), Mohamed El Shennawy (Al Ahly)
Defenders: Mohamed Abdel-Shafi (Al Fateh), Ayman Ashraf (Al Ahly), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa), Ahmed Fathi (Al Ahly), Omar Gaber (Los Angeles FC), Ali Gabr (Zamalek), Mahmoud Hamdy (Zamalek), Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion), Saad Samir (Al Ahly)
Midfielders: Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Abdallah El Said (Al Ahly Jeddah), Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Mahmoud Kahraba (Al Ittihad Jeddah), Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic), Shikabala (Al Raed), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City), Mahmoud Hassan (Kasimpasa), Amr Warda (Atromitos)
Forwards: Marwan Mohsen (Al Ahly), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool). (Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge)