'I can tell you, he’s going to be a really successful player in the Premier League' - Michel Salgado backs Egypt star Trezeguet

Aston Villa midfielder was wanted by Salgado at Celta Vigo

Aston Villa's Egyptian midfielder Trezeguet celebrates scoring against Leicester. AFP
Aston Villa's Egyptian midfielder Trezeguet celebrates scoring against Leicester. AFP

Michel Salgado says he has no doubt Aston Villa winger Trezeguet will prove a huge hit in the Premier League.

The former Real Madrid defender knows the Egyptian well following his spell as assistant coach of the Egypt national team.

Salgado was part of Javier Aguirre’s coaching set-up before and during last summer’s Africa Cup of Nations, which took place in Egypt. The hosts, however, were knocked out of the tournament in the last 16, losing 1-0 to South Africa.

Nevertheless, Trezeguet was an integral member of the squad, scoring the tournament’s opening goal in the 1-0 victory against Zimbabwe in Cairo. The attacking midfielder, 25, made the move to Villa soon after, signing from Turkish club Kasimpasa in July for £8.75 million (Dh41.7m).

Trezeguet has gone on to make 28 appearances for the Midlands side, scoring his first goal in the 2-1 defeat to league leaders Liverpool in November. Last week, he struck an injury-time winner in the League Cup semi-final second leg Leicester City to send Villa to their first showpiece final in five years. The goal was this week voted Villa’s best of the month.

Salgado, who played for Celta Vigo and Blackburn Rovers either side of 10 trophy-laden years at Madrid, believes there’s much more to come from Trezeguet.

“I was in there, and you can imagine Trezeguet, I tried to sign him for Celta Vigo,” the Spaniard said on Wednesday as he launched the fourth edition of the Under-13 Dubai Intercontinental Football Cup. “But finally Aston Villa put an offer and they got him. But I wanted Trezeguet in my country and playing for Celta Vigo.

“I know the talent in Egypt. [Mohamed] Salah is right now an outstanding player. It’s not easy to succeed in the Premier League, because the Spanish league is more controlled, more technical. But I played in the Premier League for three years after retiring from Real Madrid, and the physicality is crazy.

“So it’s more difficult to play in it. And you can see Trezeguet and Salah right now – of course Salah is on another level – but Trezeguet just arrived to the Premier League and, I can tell you, he’s going to be a really successful player in the Premier League. I don’t have any doubt about it.”

Speaking more broadly about youth development in the Arab world, Salgado said: “Believe me, the talent in Egypt in unbelievable, it’s natural. And the same in Algeria, for sure. The talent in that world, the talent from the street is unbelievable. It’s so individual.

“What’s the problem? The system. When kids in Spain are eight or 10 years old they go into the system. In Egypt and in Algeria and in countries like the UAE as well, the kids when they are 13 or 14 years old are still playing without a system. It’s all about the individual, the natural individual and the rough diamonds. That’s the difference between Europe and the Arab countries.

“And when you have at look at these guys, we can get players like Trezeguet from the UAE playing in the Premier League, no doubt about it. But we need to organise the system. And now is the moment."

The U-13 Dubai Intercontinental Football Cup, first played in 2017, runs from February 13-15 at Dubai Sports City and has this year been extended to 24 teams. Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Arsenal will compete for the trophy, alongside four clubs from the UAE and a team from the Dubai-based Spanish Soccer School.

Updated: February 6, 2020 01:31 PM

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