Gelsenkirchen - FC Schalke 04 captain has voiced his approval of new coach Roberto Di Matteo’s start at the club, calling him a man “with a clear plan in mind”.
’Clear style of play’
Speaking to his Schalke's official website, the World Cup winner, who has been out of action for several weeks with a groin tear, also declared himself to be in contention for a comeback this weekend in the Royal Blues' game against Hertha Berlin.
“[As captain] I’m the extended arm of the coaching staff,” Höwedes said. “So of course Roberto Di Matteo sought me and the other senior players out so that we can help convey his ideas to the team.”
The defender refused to go into detail about what those might be, but did say that Di Matteo is a “calm kind of person who gives clear instructions, has clear ideas and a clear style of play. With time he’ll pass that on to us. He’s got a lot of character.”
Room for improvement
Furthermore, Höwedes has been impressed with Di Matteo's attention to detail: “He works very precisely. Whenever I arrive at the training ground everything’s already prepared for the next session. He has a clear plan in mind and he tells us what we’re going to focus on before the start of each session. During training we work very intensively and on various things [...] There are also clear instructions so that everyone knows what’s what.”
Having been deprived of the opportunity to work with several first team members, such as Julian Draxler, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Christian Fuchs, due to the international break, it remains to be seen whether Di Matteo can turn the side’s fortunes around at home to Hertha on Saturday evening. The Royal Blues are currently 11th in the Bundesliga table having won just two of their seven league matches in 2014/15, drawing two and losing the other three.
With that in mind, Höwedes is understandably keen to return to first-team action. “The injury seems to have healed well and I feel good after training again with the side. I’m not at 100 per cent yet but I’m working hard so that I can play well on Saturday.”
The omens are good that Höwedes will enjoy a positive return, as Schalke have won ten of their 11 most recent meetings with Hertha, drawing the other. “We want to dominate the match and put the coach’s instructions into practice straight away,” he said. “If we can do that then we’ll leave the pitch as victors.”