Egypt were given a boost ahead of their opening match at the World Cup in Russia after Mohamed Salah joined a squad training session at their Grozny base.
The talismanic forward’s fitness has been the subject of intense debate since he was forced out of the Uefa Champions League final in Kiev on May 26 after injuring a shoulder in a collision with Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos.
Team doctor Mohamed Abou al-Ela said Salah “participated in part of the training with the team and completed the other part alone”.
Team director Ihab Lahita was cagey about his progress, saying there was no guarantee Salah will play in Egypt’s Group A opener against Uruguay on Friday.
“There’s a good degree of progress but no definitive decision on whether he takes part, as we are following his case day by day,” he told reporters.
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Regardless, images of the Liverpool forward training will boost manager Hector Cuper and the entire Egyptian population, where Salah has become a national hero following his goalscoring exploits for both the national team and Liverpool in England’s Premier League.
The former Basel and Roma forward was as recently as Monday considered a doubt for the match against Uruguay in Yekaterinburg on Friday, where Egypt will play their first World Cup match in 28 years.
Salah scored 44 goals in a record-breaking debut season with Liverpool - 32 of them in the league - and collected both the PFA and FWA Player of the Year awards.
On May 30, Egypt officials said Salah would be out for “not more” than three weeks, which would rule him out of the Uruguay match but put him in the frame for Russia on June 19 and Saudi Arabia on June 25.
Egypt’s doctor said over the weekend that Salah would not play “unless he has totally recovered”.
The player sat out Egypt’s first training session after arriving in Russia but was optimistic about his prospects.