Mohamed Salah must put more effort into his performances with Egypt, according to the Pharaohs’ legendary former manager Hassan Shehata.
Salah has made 85 appearances for his country since making his debut in 2010, scoring 47 goals, including two at a World Cup finals, but he is yet to win a trophy with Egypt.
That has not been the case at club level with the 30-year-old becoming one of the game’s most coveted stars as a result of achieving Premier League and Champions League glory with Liverpool.
Salah added to his collection last season as the Reds won the FA Cup and League Cup. But that double triumph came after Egypt lost the African Cup of Nations final in February on penalties to Senegal, taking their wait for the trophy into a 12th year.
Further heartbreak was to follow the next month as Senegal once again got the better of the Pharaohs on spot-kicks to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar later this year.
And now Shehata, who won three consecutive AFCON titles during his time in charge of Egypt, has launched heavy criticism of Salah, who captains the national team.
“Salah is a world-renowned football star because of all of his individual achievements,” he said speaking to Sada El-Balad.
“From a technical point of view, Salah did not achieve anything with the national team so far. He is a worldwide star; he should have an impact whenever he plays with the national team.
“He also has to put in more effort, as the national team was playing with a strategy that always puts pressure on him on the field.”
Salah was influential in helping the Pharaohs qualify for the 2018 World Cup, their first since 1990. The Liverpool superstar scored a stoppage-time penalty against Congo in October 2017, which secured the team’s qualification and sparked wild scenes of celebration back in his homeland.
But after being injured by Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos in the Champions League final in May 2018, Salah’s impact on the tournament was not what he would have hoped, scoring twice but seeing Egypt exit after the group stage.
“Salah wasn’t in the best shape in many games with the national team,” said Shehata, reflecting on the finals in Russia.
Shehata also cited the quality drop-off between Liverpool and Egypt’s squad as the potential stem of Salah’s ‘problems’: “He [Salah] cannot choose the players for the national team, but he has to talk with the officials about that.”