- Arthur Masuaku excited by prospect of facing friend and former Olympiacos teammate Omar Elabdellaoui
- Full-backs could start for West Ham United and Hull City respectively on Saturday
- Masuaku also played under Tigers manager Marco Silva for Greek champions last season
Arthur Masuaku will partake in some sibling rivalry with a difference when he faces his ‘brother’ Omar Elabdellaoui at Hull City on Saturday.
The West Ham United left-back shared a dressing room with the on-loan Tigers right-back at Greek club Olympiacos for two seasons, winning back-to-back Super League titles and forging the best full-back partnership in the country.
Norway international Elabdellaoui (pictured above, wearing No14) also became Masuaku’s unofficial English tutor during his two years in Athens and the two became close friends, but that relationship will mean nothing come kick-off at the KCOM Stadium.
“I don’t know too much about Hull City, but I know my ‘brother’ is playing, Omar Elabdellaoui,” he confirmed. “We played two years together and he was on the right and I was on the left.
“In the beginning when I was in Olympiacos I didn’t speak good English, so when we came together at the same time, I learned how to speak English from him. He is Norwegian so he speaks very good English, so he taught me a bit how to speak English!
“Our friendship started from there and, after that, we were together all the time. We will see how the game goes and I hope he is going to play and I am going to play, but we will see.”
In the beginning when I was in Olympiacos I didn’t speak good English, so when we came together at the same time, I learned how to speak English from him
With the nature of modern full-backs, Masuaku and Elabdellaoui could see plenty of each other if they both start on Saturday.
“I like to take my side and help the team in front and then go back, this is the way I play,” observed the No26. “Omar also plays the football I like, as he likes to go up the pitch and come back.”
Elabdellaoui is not the only face Masuaku will recognise this weekend, as Hull manager Marco Silva was also his head coach at Olympiacos last season.
Under the highly-rated Portuguese, the Frenchman collected his second straight Super League winner’s medal, featured in the UEFA Champions League and losing just seven of the 32 matches he appeared in.
Silva has lifted a trophy at all three previous clubs he has managed – Olympiacos and Portuguese pair Sporting Lisbon and Estoril - and Hull are unbeaten in four home matches since the 39-year-old took charge in January.
With that record in mind and his own first-hand experience of Silva’s methods, Masuaku is, not surprisingly, a big fan of his former boss.
“I know the coach, because I had him in Olympiacos for one year,” he said. “I think he is a very good coach and, since he came, they are doing pretty good, I think.
“He is a good coach and I really appreciate him. He likes to work and believes that when you work hard, you get the plaudits after. Since he came, they are doing pretty good, but it’s not a surprise to me. They don’t know him in England, but I think they will know him soon!
“He speaks a lot to the players and is a coach that likes to be behind his players. He is also good tactically. For him, first you have defend good to be able to attack good. This is how I can describe him.
“We had a fantastic season together. We lost just the final game in the Greek Cup, but we did good in the Champions League and the Super League. It was really good and I learned a lot with him.”