Arsenal full-back Sead Kolasinac has identified Schalke’s youth coach Norbert Elgert as the main reason he made it into professional football.
New Arsenal arrival Kolasinac heaped praises on the Elgert and revealed that the youth coach is responsible for turning many youngsters, among which teammate Mesut Ozil, Julian Draxler and Manuel Neuer, into professional footballers.
“Norbert Elgert is somebody you need to meet to learn why he has such an impact.” Kolasinac spoke for the latest issue of the Arsenal magazine.
“It’s not just Mesut and myself who have benefitted from him, there are lots of players both in the Bundesliga and elsewhere who have managed to make the step to becoming a professional because of his help.
“It was only really when I met him [that I thought I could make it]. He took me to one side and told me that if I pulled in the right direction, listened to him and did as instructed in the two years I had with him, I’d have the opportunity to break into the senior team.
“When I started working with him, I started to notice the progress – I was improving tactically, I was getting better and my game in general was getting better.”
Elgert, who is one of Germany’s most reputable youth coaches, has been head of Schalke’s academy since 1996. Under his tutelage, Schalke’s U19s won the A-Youth Championship of Germany twice in 2006 and 2012, triumphing over Bayern Munich’s youths to win the title on both occasions.
Kolasinac thinks Elgert’s success comes down to his unassuming and value-driven approach towards the youngsters.
“You go to him as a boy and he moulds you into a man, helps you build your personality. He does that really well.
“You notice during every training session how much he loves his job. That’s why I think Schalke have been so successful at generating young players for the first team. A large portion of that is down to Norbert Elgert.”
Elgert announced he wanted to leave Schalke for a new challenge in 2016, but eventually extended his contract indefinitely with the club.