He had some new experiences on the pitch too after Arsene Wenger decided to shift Elneny from his regular central midfield role to the back three. The boss has spoken before about having a ball-playing centre back flanked by two quick defenders, and he thinks Mo fits the bill.
“Yes he does,” Wenger told Arsenal.com. “Elneny is a player who has a fantastic mentality and attitude, and his main target is to help the team. When he plays there, of course he does extremely well.
“Of course [he needs to learn the defensive side], but I always felt that a good central midfielder can be a good centre back. With the fact of course that when you’re playing in the back four you have to be decisive in the challenges, you have a bit more flexibility in the middle of a back three. He can do that.
“Overall on tour, I played players like Elneny in a back three and he coped very well. Maitland-Niles sometimes played at centre back as well, even in the big games against Chelsea.
"You see their strengths and their weaknesses, and you learn a lot about your players and your combinations too. The advantage we have is that we have a good stability in our squad, so I already know who I can combine with who, more or less.”
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