Ahmed Elmohamady is hoping better times are on the horizon for both his club and country.
The Egypt star has suffered frustration and disappointment over the past year as Hull City were relegated from the Premier League and his national team failed to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, for a third successive tournament.
But Elmohamady is confident the future will be brighter as he prepares to resist a big move in January to help Hull back into the top flight.
The 28-year-old is out of contract next summer and has been linked with a host of top-flight clubs, including Leicester City, West Brom, Swansea, West Ham and Everton.
While boss Steve Bruce admits it will be hard to keep hold of Elmohamady should a big offer come in next month, the player wants to stay and take Hull up from the Championship.
“I’m with Hull and my contract finishes at the end of the season – and I’m with them until the end of the season,” said Elmohamady, whose side are currently fourth and visit Leeds on Saturday.
“There’s nothing else happening. I’m staying until my contract finishes and then we will see what happens after that.
“I want to help Hull go back to the Premier League. There has been interest from other clubs and while it’s good for me, I want to do good for Hull.
“I’m focused on football now, just concentrating on my job, and I want to keep everyone happy.
— Ahmed Elmohamady (@Elmo_27) October 31, 2015
“Our target this season is promotion, to get back into the Premier League and put Hull in the top level again.
“We have so much experience, good players here. We all want to play in the Premier League, not just me, all the players. It’s the best league in the world and we have to work hard to get back there. Lots of fans back in Egypt watch it too so I want to make them happy and proud.”
Elmohamady is keen to show some loyalty to Hull after enjoying his three years at the club since joining initially on loan from Sunderland in 2012.
In that first season, he also helped the Tigers gain promotion to the Premier League, winning their Player of the Year award in the process, before making the move permanent for £2 million.
He told Sport360 that “life’s good” in England since he left Egyptian outfit ENPPI in 2010.
And he wants to use his experience to help revive Egypt’s fortunes after recent struggles.
Since Hassan Shehata left in 2011, the Pharaohs have had three coaches in American Bob Bradley, Shawky Ghareeb and now Hector Cuper, the Argentine who also had a spell at UAE Pro League side Al Wasl.
And Elmohamady, who has 71 caps and helped Egypt win two of their seven Africa Cup of Nations titles in 2008 and 2010, admitted: “We should be doing better. “It’s been a tough three or four years so hopefully we will get back to the right way and on the right road again.
“First the Africa Cup of Nations in 2017 and then looking forward to the World Cup – that’s the target.
“We have had the change of coaches, and the Egyptian League as well, it stops and plays, stops and plays, and that doesn’t help. Hopefully now everything will run smoothly and we will get back to how we were – and be successful again.
“We have good players and we can achieve more. I also want more than 100 caps too. Inshallah things will be good again.”
The big talking point of recent weeks for Chelsea fans has undoubtedly been the form of Spain striker Diego Costa, with the misfiring forward’s woes representative of the issues facing the team as a whole.
Costa, with just three goals to his name this season, has been attracting headlines for the wrong reason as the Blues themselves struggle to kickstart their faltering campaign. Left out last week as Chelsea drew with Tottenham, there are question marks over his future in London.
BeIn Sports’ duo Andy Gray and Richard Keys take a look at the current situation at Stamford Bridge regarding Costa, with coach Mourinho appearing to have lost faith in his striking star.
Andy Gray: Diego Costa is an angry, frustrated, unhappy young man at the moment and it shows, but he is only mirroring what the rest of the team are like. They are all struggling for answers.
One or two are beginning to find a bit of form, but he is still a way off. I think the spat he had with Mourinho in the game against Maccabi Tel Aviv, which everyone saw, was the moment Jose decided he needed to show everyone who is the boss at Chelsea and I think that’s why he left him out for the Spurs game.
He will bring him back when he thinks the player is ready but Costa, who has only scored three goals this season, needs to raise his game. I get the impression that he is not happy at Chelsea and wants to go back to Spain, so I wouldn’t be surprised if come the January transfer window we see some movement at the club on the striker front.
If Costa isn’t going to step up to the levels he was at last season then Mourinho will find someone else because neither Radamel Falcao or Loic Remy are good enough. If there is a viable option I think Chelsea will get rid of Costa and that might be what the player has been angling for.
There is the option, of course, that Mourinho might decide to get shot of Falcao or Remy, bring in someone who is scoring goals and keep Costa as back up but would the Spaniard be happy to play second fiddle to another striker? I think not.
I don’t expect Costa to start against Bournemouth on Saturday, even though you would think he might get a few goals in this game.
Mourinho would have been pleased by the way his team played against Spurs last week without the striker. There were definitely shoots of recovery there so he will probably stick with what he had in that game.
Chelsea are a much better side than Bournemouth, who it has to be said did well against Everton last week, and should win this reasonably easily. 2-0.
Richard Keys: It was from a very good friend of mine on the island of Ibiza earlier in the year that I got information that Costa had been there partying for two days after an early season fixture.
When I posted that information on Twitter I got a lot of Chelsea fans saying ‘who cares? So what, he is only relaxing and enjoying himself’, but my point was, and remains, that this is a player who for two years hasn’t really been fit. He’s a party boy and it is that, more than anything else, that I am sure annoys Mourinho.
— The Sun – Football (@TheSunFootball) December 3, 2015
He made a fantastic impact when he first came into the Premier League – he blew people away but he has crossed the line too often for me. He is more interested in fighting personal battles these days than he is for the team and maybe that’s because he can’t contribute anymore, maybe he is frustrated by that.
Whatever, I don’t think he will be at Chelsea for much longer. He hit the headlines again this week when he was pictured leaving a London nightclub in the early hours after the club’s Christmas party. Why is he getting himself in the papers if it’s not to say ‘I will do what I want to do’?
I heard in the summer that Mourinho tried to sell him but that John Terry and some of the other players persuaded him otherwise. All this is indicative of everything that’s not right at Chelsea, who appear to be continually fighting in-house battles.
As for the game against Bournemouth, I am with Andy in that I am not sure Costa will play. I wouldn’t pick him and I would prefer to see Hazard given another run up top which is where I would like to see him play.
Whether Costa plays or not it will make little difference in this game. 2-0.
Wayne Rooney will miss Manchester United’s games against West Ham in the Premier League and Wolfsburg in the Champions League because of an ankle injury.
Manager Louis van Gaal confirmed the striker’s injury, which he suffered in the 1-1 draw at Leicester, was worse than at first thought.
The 30-year-old, who has played 499 games for the club, will miss Saturday’s home game against West Ham and the European fixture in Wolfsburg next Tuesday.
“It’s a nasty injury. He shall not play his 500th game (on Saturday) because he is more injured than I thought so we have to wait for that game,” Van Gaal said.
“His ankle is not good enough and we have to recover that ankle with a lot of strength. He has to do a lot of exercises to make his ankle stronger. He needs more time.”
Van Gaal later confirmed Rooney would also miss Tuesday’s game in Wolfsburg, which United need to win to guarantee their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Wayne Rooney has what Van Gaal describes as a “nasty injury” and will be out for a while….don’t start cheering now Man Utd fans! #MUFC
— Kevin Palmer (@kpsundayworld) December 4, 2015