The former Genoa youngster found himself on the outskirts of the AC Milan senior team just one season ago, during which manager Massimiliano Allegri picked the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Antonio Cassano to lead the line for the Rossoneri. However, the departures of a host of star names in the summer has forced the Milan boss to rely on less established names, and El Shaarawy has emerged as the club's on-form striker after scoring 14 goals in 18 Serie A appearances.
Speaking to La Stampa, the 20-year old admitted that he never foresaw such a quick change in fortune, and he hoped his rise would open the eyes of other managers to offer their younger players more opportunities.
"It's all a bit unexpected, a year ago, I would never have believed that I would be Serie A top scorer now," El Shaarawy stated.
"The economical crisis has helped me, and lot of youngsters have been given a chance to display skills and they've taken advantage of that. We just needed some space - it makes no sense to go and buy players abroad when you already have good players at home."
El Shaarawy's impressive form has not gone unnoticed by other clubs in Europe, but the Savona-born frontman expressed his hopes of remaining a Rossoneri player.
"I’ve supported Milan since I was a kid," El Shaarawy shared.
"However there is nothing certain in football. If a big offer was made for me then I’d hope Milan would have the strength to keep me."
AC Milan's final fixture before the Serie A winter break sees them welcome Siena to the San Siro this weekend.