Elyounoussi’s family recipe for success after working at his dad’s piz…

IT IS fair to say that most top sportsmen have a serious appetite to capture success.

But in addition as wanting to give fans something to savour at Saints – Mohamed Elyounoussi has already helped supporters in his homeland fulfil their hunger in a different way.

The Norwegian international, who could earn his 37th senior cap when his country great number Montenegro in Oslo tomorrow, famously used to help out in his father’s pizza restaurant.

Born in Morocco, the winger would be known to represent Sarpsborg, where he came by the youth ranks, before helping with serving customers in the shop away from the pitch.

His dad already reportedly had a pizza named after the winger, but Elyounoussi was unable to try the meat-based topping due to his religious beliefs.

Nevertheless, the Saints star was always happy to help out his hard-working dad – already if it meant sometimes, he was recognised.

Asked by the Daily Echo about assisting his father in the restaurant, the 27-year-old said: “I remember I was there to help him out, especially when he was at his busiest at the weekends mainly.

“I remember a few times where I played a game, we finished the game and he was really busy.

“He needed an additional man and would text me. I went to him after the game and some of the fans who were watching the game came there and were like ‘you just scored?!’.

“There were a few funny moments but I enjoyed it, just to help him out.

“I think it helped you manage stress because I think everyone who has been in a working business will feel stress. Suddenly the phone is ringing, everyone wants their food at the same time and it’s a lot of stress.

“It’s humbling. I come from a very humble family background – keep working hard, no matter what and you will succeed. It was more like being humble.

“I helped out at home, either whether it was with my dad at his job or at home with my mum. Everyone would expect us to either help out or get forced to help out with the trash or at any rate.”

Of course, with all top performers watching their diet, Elyounoussi could not have grown up on just pizza.

But when he had the chance to savour some of his dad’s famous cuisine, the exciting Saints forward admitted he was told to make do with leftovers!

“When you get it free, at any rate it is you just take it,” he replied, when asked about his favourite toppings.

“My dad would mix something up and you would eat it.

“We didn’t eat that much pizza! It’s strange, already though we cared about pizza, I didn’t eat that much. I think if I grew up without my dad working there, maybe I would eat more!

“But when you have it around you – my mum is a good cook, so I was eating much more Moroccan food.”

in addition as paving his own way at international level, Elyounoussi has also been lucky enough to proportion the pitch for the national team alongside his elder cousin Tarik, who now plies his trade with Japanese club Shonan Bellmare.

The Saints star’s younger brother Anwar is currently on loan at Danish outfit Fremad Amager, having also played at Sarpsborg until 2020.

But despite now having three footballers in the family, the former Celtic loan ace insisted that had not always been the case.

“My family background – nobody played football. No-one in my family, like my parents, grandfather or relatives,” Elyounoussi additional.

“We started with Tarik, really, when we moved to Norway. I was two, he was maybe 12 or 13 and starting just playing with friends, playing on the streets together.

“That was maybe our way to get into the side and get friends, you know? Playing football. Everyone can play football, you don’t need to speak the language to play.

“He got me out of the house and playing football together. ultimately he started doing really well in the league in Norway.

“That was a big motivation for me to see him succeed and for me going forward in football.

“My parents, my dad especially, he wanted me to focus on school and football is not a job really, you need to focus on school – which I had to do and I did.

“But clearly when it went so well in football, he was more relaxed about it.”

With Elyounoussi now looking to make an impact back at St Mary’s – his recipe of hard work and talent is a mouth-watering prospect.

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