There's Something About Amr (part 4)

Last updated : 19 January 2010 By Andy Beill

Great start

After scoring in both pre-season friendlies he played for Wigan, Zaki got a goal on the opening day of the 2008/09 league season. Trailing 2-0 at West Ham, a long throw-in just after half time was flicked on for Zaki to score a difficult left-foot volley on his debut.

He followed that by turning in a man of the match performance in the 0-1 defeat to Chelsea. Brought off the bench at half time in the League Cup game against Notts County, Zaki made an immediate impact by scoring one and setting up another in a 5-0 win.

The Wigan number 13 added a brace in the 5-0 thrashing of Hull City at the Circle. For his first he held off a challenge before squeezing in a low shot which was deflected past Boaz Myhill. His second was a fierce shot which crashed down from the underside of the bar and ajudged to be over the line.

His second half goals kept coming as he turned in the equaliser at home to Sunderland from 6 yards. Speaking after the match he said: "I'm very pleased with the Premier League and to be at Wigan playing for somebody like Steve Bruce. I really want to do well in my first year. I have felt comfortable very quickly."

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan compared "wonderful" Zaki to Alan Shearer, saying his goal instinct was "exactly the same" as Shearer's, and praised his effort.

Zaki's impressive start was not going unnoticed by other clubs, but he made his intentions clear by saying: "If any other club come for me now, even Manchester United, I will stay at Wigan. This is home."

Three games later he was on the scoresheet again, beating Joe Hart with a penalty in the 2-1 win against Manchester City.

Being fined for returning late from an international match against Dijbouti supposedly upset Zaki but you wouldn't have known it as he subsequently put in his most famous performance for the club at Anfield on 18th October, against the team he supported as a boy. He opened the scoring by tackling Liverpool defender Daniel Agger on the edge of the box and side-footing the ball past Pepe Reina. Just before half time he reclaimed the lead for Wigan with a stunning goal. A cross from the right was played behind Zaki, but he adjusted and with his back to goal shot with a scissor-kick, beating Reina from 15 yards out.

Steve Bruce publicly "put the record straight" that Wigan would hold on to Zaki until the end of the agreed loan spell and "will do our utmost" to make it a permanent deal, although admitted Zamalek's valuation of the player would be increasing.

Click here for part 5 of There's Something About Amr