FC Schalke 04 captain Benedikt Höwedes admits there is room for improvement from the Royal Blues as they continue their preparations for the second half of the campaign in Orlando, Florida.
The Gelsenkirchen club ended the Hinrunde in sixth place, two points behind the fourth and final UEFA Champions League spot, which is currently occupied by Borussia Mönchengladbach. Speaking to schalke04.de, Höwedes was reluctant to predict where Die Knappen would finish the season, but made it clear that Andre Breitenreiter’s side are trying to improve "a lot of things".
The 27-year-old Germany international also shared his thoughts on Schalke’s training camp in the Sunshine State, new signing Younes Belhanda and UEFA Euro 2016.
Benedikt Höwedes on...
...the importance of training camps:
"They’re very important because at the end of the day you want to be as best prepared for your upcoming assignments as possible. In the Hinrunde, I needed a bit of time to get fit after my injury. Fortunately, I’m healthy and fit now, so I can focus on the second half of the season."
...the first training session in Orlando:
"Everyone got over the lactate tests well, the tempo was high in the following sessions. That’s important. We’ve coped well with the long flight and the time difference."
...sharing a room with Schalke midfielder Roman Neustädter:
"Like me, Roman’s a tidy guy. There’s a difference, though, He puts his stuff in the wardrobe, I leave mine in my suitcase. We understand each other. We always share a room when we go away."
...new loan signing Younes Belhanda:
"I’ve only spoken to him briefly, but there’ll definitely be other opportunities. We want to incorporate Younes into the team and make the integration process as easy as possible for him so that he finds his feet and feels happy here. I already know him as player from our meetings in the Champions League with Montpellier."
"I don’t want to be specific about where we want to finish in the table. We made a conscious effort not to do that before the season, and we won’t do that now. We set out to change our playing style and embody Schalke. It’s gone well so far, but there’s definitely room for improvement."
"Obviously I’d love to be there. Unfortunately I’ve missed a few international games in recent months through injury, but I’ve stayed in contact with the national team and the coaching staff. I know they value me and I want to show why I should be in the squad for the EUROs with a good Rückrunde."