Whether it’s for Liverpool in the Premier League or Egypt in the African Cup of Nations, Mohamed Salah typically lights up any pitch that he sets foot upon.
Since joining Liverpool for Roma for £37.8 million in July 2017, Salah has proven himself to be a world-class operator.
The winger has been a key figure for Reds manager Jurgen Klopp as the German has revitalised the club’s fortunes, with Salah’s 148 goals in 229 career games helping Liverpool secure both Premier League and Champions League titles in recent years.
However, the signing of Salah for such a relatively large fee was not universally popular among the Anfield fanbase initially. Critics pointed to an underwhelming previous spell in the Premier League with Chelsea as evidence that the player didn’t possess top-tier quality.
The fact that he only managed two goals in 19 games across his couple of seasons at Stamford Bridge certainly backed up these reservations.
A recently-created Twitter thread featuring clips of Salah in action as a teenager, though, suggests that his quality should never have been in doubt.
Displaying many of the traits that make him such a fearsome prospect for Europe’s top defenders today, Salah was exhibiting electric pace, sublime footwork and his trademark assuredness in front of goal from an age as young as 16.
Footage of Salah running rings around his peers at youth level in Egypt provide a glimpse as to the outstanding player that would go on to become. It’s tough not to feel for these youngsters as Salah simply glides past them with ease.
It wasn’t long until Salah was doing the same for his country at age-group level, cutting in from the flanks at ferocious speed, always seemingly confident that he will manufacture an opportunity for a shot at goal.
Once that opening appears, Salah makes the most of it with ruthless accuracy.
Even as the young superstar grew in notoriety and opposing teams realised they needed to have several players teaming up to mark Salah, the tricky winger usually found a way to evade the attention.
Towards the end of his teenage years, Salah even appeared on English shores, representing Egypt at the London 2012 Olympics against Brazil.
Although the Egyptians would be overmatched by their South American adversaries, Salah still showed plenty of spark during a brief cameo appearance, frequently slipping his marker and underlining his tremendous potential for the future with a late goal for his country.
It’s fair to say that he’s more than fulfilled that youthful promise today.
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