Max Meyer: A Changed Situation at Schalke?

Max Meyer is one the great talents that Schalke 04 have produced in the last couple of years. The young, technical player is what you in German call a ”rohdiamant”, a rough diamond as you would say in English. He is the sort of youngster who has shown a lot of promise, but still has a lot of development left.

When Jens Keller was announced as the new coach of Schalke in December 2012, it was commonly assumed that he would emphasize the development of young players. Keller, who came from the under-23 team at Schalke and mostly had been working at youth lever prior to that point, had achieved great results at youth level and was expected to bring a lot of young talents through the ranks.

No place could have been better to do that at than Schalke. In the last couple of years players like Julian Draxler, Benedikt Höwedes, Mezut Özil and Manuel Neuer had all been products of the fantastic youth academy of Schalke. Developing under one of the most renowned youth coaches in Germany, Norbert Elgert, all these talents had been able to take the step from being rough diamonds to becoming World Champions.

Keller kept that tradition alive and one of the talents he started with was Max Meyer. Under Keller he got the opportunity to play in the Bundesliga. Meyer proved himself to be good enough to play at that level and all of sudden everybody was not just talking about Julian Draxler, because now there was this Meyer kid who was working as a magician in Schalke.

Chelsea, Arsenal, Bayern Munich have all been linked with attacking midfielder who made his debut in Bundesliga 2013 , just 17 years old. He replaced the Brazilian Raffael (now at Borussia Mönchengladbach) and assisted to the 2-2 equalizer scored by Michel Bastos against FSV Mainz. From that point on Meyer has been a solid part in the Schalke team, making 59 appearances in all competitions for the Royal Blues so far as a teenager (he turns 20 in January)..

As Roberto Di Matteo replaced Jens Keller as the coach of Schalke a couple of weeks ago there was a slight change of direction at Schalke. Although Di Matteo wanted to work with talents, his first focus was to set the defense straight which was not in the benefit of the attacking midfielder Meyer.

Under the new coach Meyer has been on the substitute bench, being subbed in at the end of the games. Against Hertha Berlin Meyer got to play twelve minutes, against Leverkusen it decreased to one minute. Meyer could not understand why his was not playing, something he said to the press.  Meyer also pointed out that Di Matteo had not been talking a lot with him, creating a small ”situation” at Schalke.

”I communicate with all players. Not just the ones who are in the starting eleven”, Di Matteo said to his defense in front of the game against Augsburg on Friday. ”I do not have any problems with Max. He is an important player to us and has shown that he has a lot of talent. He has trained well this week and may be playing against Augsburg.”

If that is enough for ”Herr Meyer” is questionable. Last season Meyer was a vital part of Schalke 21 out of 30 games in the Bundesliga, scoring six goals and assisting four. Now he is just being used a substitute, a situation he is not comfortable with and a situation that might not change under di Matteo.

Meyer knows about the interest from bigger clubs and he could leave if not getting the chance to play at Schalke. The chance to play abroad would be a great possibility and to develop under a trainer like José Mourinho is something that many players dream about. And as we all know, winter is coming


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