Sead Kolasinac was a model of consistency for Schalke in the second half of the 2013/14 season, playing in 18 of the last 19 games
Sead Kolasinac was a model of consistency for Schalke in the second half of the 2013/14 season, playing in 18 of the last 19 games

Kolasinac ready for world stage

Gelsenkirchen - Having helped FC Schalke 04 seal automatic qualification for the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League and a place in the Bosnia-Herzgovina squad for the country's maiden FIFA World Cup virtually assured, could be forgiven for pausing for breath after a whirlwind 18 months.

Young gun

The 20-year-old has gone from relative unknown to Bundesliga mainstay since the start of 2013, making 21 league starts in 2013/14 having announced himself in the first team in the previous year.

As has been the case with so many Schalke youngsters, such as May Meyer and Leon Goretzka, Kolasinac has benefitted greatly from the arrival of Jens Keller as coach in late 2012. Replacing Huub Stevens, an old-school coach who favoured experience, Keller entrusted the Karlsruhe-born defender with the left-back berth ahead of Austrian international Christian Fuchs, and he has never looked out of place.

Kolasinac is now one of the first names on Keller’s team sheet, missing just one of the last 19 games of 2013/14 as Schalke registered a club record Rückrunde haul of 36 points.

Kolasinac is quick to acknowledge the help he has been given by his mentor and competitor, however: “I’ve learned a lot from Christian [Fuchs] and taken his advice on board. He’s helped me to improve my performance, especially in the second half of this season.”

Full international

The youngster's expansive, attacking style mirrors the boundless confidence Keller has placed in him, and it is perhaps not surprising that he is beginning to make a name for himself on the international scene as well. Being born in Germany made him eligible for die Nationalmannschaft and he did represent Germany at Under-18, U-19 and U-20 level. However, Kolasinac's allegiance switched when he accepted an invitation to play for the Bosnia-Herzegovina senior side in a friendly against Argentina in late 2013.

“I have a strong connection with Bosnia-Herzegovina," he said. "Most of my family come from there and I visit often, so it wasn’t a difficult decision. Obviously Germany is also my home, but my decision has been made." Bosnia coach Safet Susic recently called him up to the initial 30-man squad for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil, and Kolasinac himself is slowly beginning to realise just how far he has come.

'One of the best'

“I was over the moon [when I got the call]," he said. "You can’t help getting a bit excited before the World Cup. It’s such a special experience and I’m delighted to have been selected.” Brazil 2014 is the next big stage for Kolasinac to showcase his considerable talents and it could even be the tournament that underlines his potential to become, in the words of team-mate Julian Draxler, “one of the best left-backs in the world”.

Bernie Reeves