Mohamed Elneny says it is vital for modern defensive midfielders to be effective at both ends of the pitch, especially in the Champions League.

The Egypt international has made six appearances since joining Arsenal from Basel in January, particularly impressing on his first Premier League start against Tottenham Hotspur.

Elneny has played primarily as a holding midfielder this season, partnering Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey or Mathieu Flamini, but the 23-year-old says he also feels comfortable going forward ahead of Wednesday’s last-16 second-leg at Barcelona.

A holding midfielder that does not attack does not exist any more. All players have to be able to attack and defend

Mohamed Elneny

“I like to go forward but if we are defending I have to be there because my primary role is as a holding midfielder,” he told Arsenal Player.

“The style of play varies depending on opponent. For example, if we are playing a team that goes forward often then I have to help in defence, but if we are playing a team that defends most of time then I also have to help in attack.

“A holding midfielder that does not attack does not exist any more. All players have to be able to attack and defend, that’s normal now.

“I have to adapt to various players. I have to know the style of play of every one of them very well so that we can gel together. Every one of them has different qualities so I see what I can do to complement them. For instance, if the player likes to go forward, I have to sit back more and vice-versa.”

Mohamed Elneny in action against Hull City
Mohamed Elneny in action against Hull City

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Max Jones 16 Mar 2016