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An XI of golden oldies born in the same year as Egypt’s no.1 made our bones creak

Essam El Hadary, who was born in 1973, will be going to the 2018 World Cup as England's no.1

Over the next few weeks you’re going to hear a lot about how old Egypt’s no.1 Essam El-Hadary is.

It’s only natural to be fascinated by a 45-year-old who made his first-team debut for Damietta in 1993, the same year Screech graduated from Saved by the Bell.

But how do you get across how remarkable an achievement El-Hadary’s presence at the tournament is? Simple. An XI of players who were also born in 1973 should do the trick.


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Premier League Years 1993-2001

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Premier League Years 1993-2001

The majority of that side- all of whom are now very much retired- are actually younger than El-Hadary.

Dida, Sami Hyypia, Marco Materazzi, Vincent Candela, Jay-Jay Okocha and Tore Andre Flo have yet to blow out 45 candles on their birthday cake.

Of that side, three have been hired, and then sacked, as coaches.

Makelele, Hyypia and Materazzi have all come face-to-face with the harsh realities of a P45 form.

Overmars and Reiziger have both avoided the axe so far and have taken up roles at Ajax.

So it’s hardly a surprise that El-Hadary is in no rush to call it a day.

The sadness in his eyes

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The sadness in his eyes

But our favourite of the retirees is Parlour, aka the Romford Pele.

If you were to take one look at his Twitter page you’d think he had retired to be a social media influencer for Cobra lager.

The man loves a drop, although El-Hadary, a practising Muslim, won’t be following Parlour’s path.

Despite racking up 158 caps and counting for Egypt, El-Hadary has never competed at a World Cup.

While he has been part of four winning African Cup of Nations efforts, El-Hadary wasn’t playing in Italia 1990, the last time Egypt went to a World Cup.

Proof that it’s never too late to learn something new in life.

With that in mind, we’re off to brush up on our Mandarin.


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