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15th Jun 2018

Mohamed Salah well within his rights to turn on this cheeky World Cup mascot

He's definitely not 100 per cent

Darragh Murphy

One thing’s for sure and that’s that Mohamed Salah is not at 100 per cent.

Several optimistic supporters expected Salah to start for Egypt in their World Cup group opener against Uruguay on Friday afternoon but he clearly hadn’t recovered from his shoulder injury and started the game on the bench.

It came as a massive, if not altogether surprising, blow for Egypt and it remains to be seen how far from full fitness their talisman is just 20 days after the Liverpool forward left the pitch in tears during the Champions League final.

Salah’s final was cut short after a nasty landing following a tussle with Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos and doubt was immediately cast over his involvement in the World Cup.

Egypt manager Hector Cuper assured supporters that they would see Salah in action but there’s no doubt that the 26-year-old remains massively uncomfortable with his left shoulder.

“I can almost assure you 100 per cent he will play, save unforeseen circumstances at the very last minute,” said Cuper.

“He could become the top goalscorer here and one of the greatest players.”

After arriving in Russia for the tournament, Salah was not happy with an overeager fan who grabbed hold of his shoulder as he left the team coach and something similar happened as he made his way down the tunnel to take his place on the substitutes’ bench on Friday.

The slightest pat on his shoulder from a young kid was enough to prompt a reaction from Salah, who immediately motioned to his injury.

If the area is still sensitive enough for Salah to feel pain when it’s simply patted by a child, one wonders how he would possibly be able to compete with the best defenders in the world, who could well target his shoulder.

It did not go unnoticed by supporters watching at home.

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