Ibrahim Adel has taken the Egyptian Premier League by storm, a tough feat for a player who does not play for either of the two African giants: Al Ahly and Zamalek, and an even tougher feat for a 19-year-old. However, it is safe to say that the teenager has taken Pyramids F.C. to another level, and he has undoubtedly become one to watch for the future
The Egyptian Premier League was postponed on March 14th due to the spread of COVID-19, and the league commenced on August 6th, 2020. It was after the suspension in which Adel became a staple in this Pyramids F.C. side, starting 12 times, and coming on from the bench three times (prior to the suspension of the league, Pyramids F.C. had played 18 matches – Adel was an unused substitute in five of these matches and was not in the squad for the remaining 13 matches). It is clear that after the league restart, Adel was insistent on showing his worth in hopes of boosting his chances for more playing time, both in his club career and with the senior national team. For this upcoming season, he has gone on loan to Tala’ea El-Gaish. At El-Gaish he should see more playing time which should boost his technical play as well as his experience.
Here is our World Tour report on the young Egyptian.
Regardless of Pyramids F.C.’s predominant shape, Ibrahim Adel was usually in the line-up because of his versatility in playing positions. Adel is a right-footed left-winger who can also play as a striker, an attacking midfielder, a right midfielder, and on the right-wing. When Pyramids F.C. lined up in 4-2-3-1, or some variation of it (4-1-4-1) he often played as a right-winger and when they lined up in a 4-3-3, or a 4-4-2 he could slot into midfield.
Adel is a player who is dynamic when his team has the ball. Despite his age, and the fact that he may be less experienced than the defenders he comes up against, Adel is not afraid to drive into the final third, and either shoot, attempt to make key passes, or dribbling into tight areas to get himself into a better position. Of course this does not always come off, because his playstyle does become very high-risk, high reward. However what separates him from being a erratic player that takes too many risks that don’t pay off is two things: first, the effort he puts in his positional awareness when his team has possession, and second, the fact that he does more than his due diligence defensively. We’ll now look at both of these more closely.
Adel is constantly moving on the pitch, looking for space. Regardless of his position on paper, he occupies a lot of the final third with his movement. That can easily be shown by looking at his average heat map for the season.
Him constantly finding space allows him to either get the ball in areas where he is not marked, or it allows defenders to move towards him, which opens up space for his teammates to exploit.
Furthermore, defensively, Adel is constantly backtracking and helping out his team when they don’t have possession of the ball. This can be seen in the heat map above as well, with a lot of his movement being in his own half of the pitch. It can also be shown by his defensive statistics. On average he wins 60% of his defensive duels, four interceptions, and five defensive recoveries per match. These statistics are very impressive for a young forward player – the work he puts in defensively is fantastic, and a huge part as to why he is trusted to play consistently.
As mentioned, Ibrahim Adel is not afraid of dribbling, and taking on players. This is where his technical play comes in. His dribbling success rate is 44%, which is quite low, but he averages an attempted eight dribbles per match, which is quite high. This is, again, where the idea of high risk, high reward comes in – because Adel dribbles so much, and is confident in his abilities, he averages seven touches in the penalty area, four progressive runs, three shots, and 50% offensive duels won per match. These statistics show how technically gifted he is with the ball for a 19 year-old.
A big part of Adel’s technical play is his passing as well, especially when he uses his passing skills to create chances. 73% of his forward passes are accurate on average, along with an average of 85% when it comes to passes into the final third, and 60% when it comes to through passes. Adel has not shown he is a prolific goal scorer nor has he shown that he can grab a lot of assists (only one goal, and two assists in the league). That being said, his passing ability shows promise, and it can only lead to helping his team get on the scoresheet should he continue.
Adel is around 173cm (just under 5’7), and there is still a chance he grows taller. As a forward player, he does not need to depend on height too much (compared to central defenders, for example). The height advantage would likely only serve him well aerially, when coming up against taller defenders.
Adel is quite agile as well, and as mentioned previously, this serves him greatly when it comes to dribbling in tight spaces. It is a massive part of his game, and it will be interesting to see how he adapts his game if he loses some of that agility due to growth.
Ibrahim Adel has massive potential to be one of Egypt’s next big players. His loan at El-Gaish this season should allow him more minutes, and should he continue to impress he’ll be able to go back to Pyramids F.C. more experienced.
From there, he may have the option to continue with Pyramids and attempt to challenge Al-Ahly and Zamalek for silverware, or go to one of those two clubs in an attempt to make a bigger name for himself at one of the biggest clubs in Africa. From then on, he can decide wether a move to Europe would be beneficial.
Ibrahim Adel should also be eyeing a national team call up, and it is coming in due time should he continue his form. Egypt’s national team has been in disarray since the end of its golden era back in 2010. Too many lows, and short lived highs have lead to a lacklustre team that do not inspire much, especially going forward. There is only one forward player who is an automatic starter for Egypt based on his ability (if he is fit), Mohamed Salah, and he predominantly plays on the right wing, or as a striker if need be. Currently, Aston Villa’s Mahmoud Trézéguet is Egypt’s left-winger, but he is also a flexible player, and could slot into any of the front positions. Should Adel be called up for national team duty, he can slot right into the left-winger role with little competition should he take his chance and impress.