Breel Embolo thinks FC Schalke 04 can achieve big things in 2016/17. - © © imago / Geisser
Breel Embolo thinks FC Schalke 04 can achieve big things in 2016/17. - © © imago / Geisser

Swiss prodigy Embolo sowing seeds for success at Schalke

Breel Embolo's FC Schalke 04 debut may have ended in defeat, but the Swiss super talent is not complaining.

The 19-year-old knows full well that pre-season friendlies such as the Royal Blues' 4-2 reverse against FC Luzern are designed to iron out any kinks, which is exactly what he intends to do in the weeks ahead.

"I'm happy to play my first few minutes for Schalke 04," Embolo told club website "The team have welcomed me brilliantly and they've helped me find my feet quickly. Obviously I've still got a bit of catching up to do in terms of fitness, but I'm optimistic that I'll have improved by the time the next game comes around."

- © imago / Revierfoto

Despite finishing fifth in the Bundesliga in 2015/16 and missing out on UEFA Champions League football for the second successive season, a top-four finish remains Schalke's primary objective next term. Markus Weinzierl has been brought in to steer the club back on a course for Europe's foremost club competition and the 41-year-old is confident that Embolo can help fulfil requirements.

"Breel was determined to play [against Luzern], so that's why he came back to training earlier than expected," the former FC Augsburg head coach said. "It's clear that after his holiday he's not yet ready to blow other teams away, but we know we can look forward to seeing a quality player this season."

Weinzierl's encouraging assessment will come as music to the ears of Embolo, who is banking on a long and prosperous future at a club that prides itself on making men out of boys. "I always wanted to play in the Bundesliga," he recalled. "Schalke has a history of giving young players the chance to develop, to get better and better, but I did not come here as an apprentice. I want to help, win and score goals."

Christopher Mayer-Lodge