The reason Mohamed Salah’s former youth coach changed him from left-back to winger

For all the money the Manchester clubs spent this summer, it’s Liverpool who appear to have pulled off the signing of the season so far.

Mohamed Salah’s current tally of 18 goals in 22 games in all competitions has seen him return to English football with a vengeance, a year after leaving Chelsea on a permanent basis.

The Egyptian is one goal ahead of Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot, a trophy he’ll be hoping to add to the other accolade of African Footballer of the Year he’s already picked up this term.

While on loan at Fiorentina, he put in a starring performance against Tottenham in the Europa League to give Premier League fans some food for thought.

Why did Chelsea let him go? As easy as it is to blame Jose Mourinho, the Blues’ then-manager, it’s fair to say the winger has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years.

The 25-year-old showed signs of his lightning pace and eye for goal during his time at Stamford Bridge, but not many people would have predicted the impact he’d go on to make elsewhere.

Jurgen Klopp and ex-Roma boss Luciano Spalletti deserve credit for bringing the best out of him.

However, Liverpool are also indebted to the man who first decided he should play in midfield rather than as a full-back.

Said El-Shishini of Egyptian side El Mokawloon noticed his running ability early on, saying via Bleacher Report:

“When I coached the under-16 team at El Mokawloon, I had five left full-backs and Salah was one of them.

“In one game in the under-16 Cairo League we were playing away against ENPPI, which has a very strong youth setup.


“We won 4-0 and on that day Salah started at left-back and wasted no less than five one-on-one chances to score.

“What I saw was not the chances he missed, but his ability to dribble from the left-back position until he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

“All the running took something away from him, so he wasted the chances.

“But after this game, I saw Salah crying because of the chances he missed – he was weeping!

“From that day onwards I decided to play Salah as a right-winger.”

Salah has always been incredibly rapid down the flanks and now he has added regular to his game, it’s fair to say he’s pretty unstoppable.

“I told him he would be the team’s top goalscorer in both leagues, the U16 Cairo League and the U17 Nationwide League,” El-Shishini added.

“By the end of the season he had scored 35 goals combined. Since then, he has never stopped scoring.”