Four UAE-based footballers, including Al Wasl forward Ali Saleh, are in England this week to train at Crystal Palace as part of a collaboration between the Football Association and the Premier League club.
UAE internationals Saleh and Majid Rashid, the Sharjah midfielder, began training with the Palace first team from Monday through until Saturday. Meanwhile, Al Jazira forwards Ahmed Fawzi and Carlos Zapata - the Colombian is registered under the Adnoc Pro League's “resident” category - will join up with Palace’s Under 21 side.
The FA say the move is “part of an ongoing collaboration between the UAE Football Association and Crystal Palace Football Club, and in agreement with the player’s respective clubs”.
In a statement, the FA said: “The initiative is part of the UAE FA’s talent development programme, aiming to develop our talented players and help them to get the experience they need in their careers.”
Saleh, 22, has become an integral player for Wasl since making his first-team debut aged 16. He was named the 2018/19 UAE top flight’s Golden Boy, the award for the best young player in the division that season.
Saleh, born in Dubai to an Emirati father and Scottish mother, has made 105 league appearances for Wasl, scoring 22 times. He featured nine times for the UAE in qualification for the 2022 World Cup.
Meanwhile, Rashid is a highly rated central midfielder, who moved to Sharjah last year following an impressive start to his career at Ittihad Kalba. Also aged 22, he has recently become a regular in the national team squad. Fawzi and Zapata are aged 21 and 18, respectively.
Palace, an established Premier League club since 2013, are currently 11th in the table as the competition breaks for the World Cup. They are managed by Patrick Vieira, the former Arsenal, Juventus, Inter Milan and Manchester City midfielder, who won the 1998 World Cup with France.