Egypt U23 coach Shawky Gharib has confirmed to ON Sport (via King FUT) that he wants to take Mohamed Salah to the Olympic games in Tokyo later on this year.
The Pharaohs have qualified for the tournament in Japan later this year, and they will be allowed to select three players over the age of 23.
60-year-old Gharib has confirmed that he intends to pick Salah, even if he hasn’t yet spoken to the 27-year-old himself. He said: “Out of the three senior players we’ll call-up, Salah is the only one we’re settled on so far because he’s simply one of the top three players in the world.
“I haven’t talked to Salah at all about him joining the U23 squad for the Olympics, but in all honesty, his participation in the Olympics will need a little effort from him as well.”
From an Egypt point of view, this makes perfect sense. Salah is without a doubt his country’s highest-profile footballer, and it could be argued that, right now, he is one of his nation’s biggest exports. Having him in the side will be a boost to the other players, and should mean the side’s progress garners more interest from home.
For the Reds, though, this is absolutely terrible news. It is getting to the point where Salah may never get a rest. He took part in the World Cup in 2018 – a tournament he was rushed back for following his injury in the Champions League final against Real Madrid – whilst he also participated in the African Cup of Nations last year. Now, for the third summer in a row, he may need to participate in an international tournament – and one that will take place on the other side of the planet.
Salah has had some injury issues this term, yet he has started all but three matches in the Premier League and Champions League combined. That comes after two seasons in which has missed three games in those two tournaments put together.
His participation in the competition will likely see him miss pre-season, meaning that he won’t be up to speed when he returns, and a shorter amount of time to get ready for the new campaign could easily lead to a bigger injury problem than he has ever had to worry about so far. At some point, someone is going to have to say enough is enough. Jurgen Klopp and Co can only hope that he doesn’t end up making the trip.