Egypt icon Ahmed Hassan has blasted Mohamed Salah for returning to Liverpool for treatment on the hamstring injury he suffered at the Africa Cup of Nations. Salah was replaced on the stroke of half-time in Egypt’s draw with Ghana after going down and receiving treatment on the pitch.
Egypt have since confirmed that Salah has left their camp and returned to Merseyside for further treatment, although he could return for the semi-finals in early February if they make it that far. Hassan believes that Salah should have stayed with the national team during his injury absence, suggesting that he could have flown out a member of Liverpool’s medical staff instead of leaving the camp.
“I’ve always backed Salah and I was very happy with his presence as captain of the Egyptian national team,” said Hassan, who is Egypt’s most-capped player with 184 appearances for his country.
“I had no problems with what he said, but it turned out that he was plotting his departure from the Egypt camp. Do the AFCON regulations allow a player to leave the national team’s camp and come back again? He had the possibility of bringing in someone from Liverpool’s medical staff to be with him during the competition.
“Again, he is the captain. He should stay with the team no matter what, even if he only had one leg to stand on. He even said himself that it’s the Egyptian national team, not Salah’s national team, and this is true. We have confidence in all the players who are there and they must fight for the title.”
Egypt will reach the AFCON knockout stages with a win over Cape Verde in their final group stage match on Monday evening. They will be desperate for Salah to return as quickly as possible to give themselves the best chance of winning the tournament, two years after they were beaten in the last final by Senegal.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp suggested last week that Salah’s injury was likely to be a serious one, given that he has missed just 10 games for the Reds in over six seasons at the club.
“I spoke with him last night and how it was,” said Klopp. “They are doing further assessments now and then we will know more. In that moment, it was a shock and couldn’t see why he was hit by something so intense.
“You have these kind of hamstring injuries in a different way. He felt it and we know how rarely Mo goes off, or needs to go off, so it is definitely something, but we will see. I don’t have any more information right now.”
Want the latest Premier League news as we publish it on Express Sport? Join our Facebook group by clickinghere.