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Sports News of Wednesday, 25 April 2018


Essien takes pride in Salah's achievement for Africa

Former Chelsea star Michael Essien has hailed Mohamed Salah's 'amazing' impact in the Premier League and is proud to see an African star thriving at the top level.

Salah saw off competition from Manchester City trio Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Leroy Sane to win the PFA Player of the Year award on Sunday, adding yet another accolade to his fine campaign.

The Egypt international has already netted 31 goals in 33 Premier League outings so far this term, and remains in the running for the Champions League after scoring eight in Europe's premier club competition.

"He is a fantastic player," Essien told KweséESPN. "It didn't work out at Chelsea at a young age, but what he has done at Liverpool is amazing.

"Being an African, I take a lot of pride in the fact that another African has emerged as such a big star in the PL."

While Essien was one of several high-profile African players - alongside Didier Drogba and John Obi Mikel - to grace the great Chelsea side of the last decade, only once before has one of the continent's stars been rewarded with the PFA award.

That was in 2016, when Riyad Mahrez's outstanding contribution to Leicester City's memorable Premier League-winning season was honoured with the POTY prize.

"Mahrez did it too, but it's not just those two," Essien concluded. "Sadio Mane has done fantastically too in helping to project the reputation of African players strongly by the way they've played."

Salah has already equalled Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Shearer and Luis Suarez in netting 31 goals in a 38-game Premier League season, and he needs just seven more strikes to equal Ian Rush's record for goals scored in a single Liverpool campaign.

The Egypt international has currently netted 40 goals in 44 outings in all contributions, and weighed in with 11 assists.