Sead Kolasinac: I want to make my presence felt and take on responsibility
Three and a half years after his move from FC Schalke 04 to Arsenal, Sead Kolasinac is back in Gelsenkirchen, with the 27-year-old completing his first training session back with the Royal Blues on Tuesday. The defender was full of enthusiasm as he discussed the role played by Jochen Schneider, Norbert Elgert and Christian Gross in his decision to return to the club he loves.
“I’ve had some intense and very positive talks with Jochen Schneider over the past few months. He’s a big part of why I made the decision to come back,” reveals ‘Seo’, who has also been in close contact with U19 coach Norbert Elgert, a man he still calls his mentor. “Norbert Elgert has always been someone I can talk to, especially in phases of my career when things haven’t been going so well. When the praise isn’t there, Norbert always is,” says Kolasinac of his former youth coach. “After talking to him on the phone a few times, I sat down with my wife and told her that I wanted to make the move back,” reveals the left-back, who made the leap into the first team from the U19s after winning the U19 Bundesliga title under Elgert. He also spoke to Christian Gross ahead of the move. After speaking to the head coach, the 27-year-old was convinced that “we can do it together”, referring to the goal of beating the drop.
We have to be a cohesive unit and tackle this challenge together.
Kolasinac does not want to dwell on the negatives of the campaign so far. “We have to keep our eyes forward and not look back. That’s the message I want to bring with me to the team,” he says. The strategy for success is to pull yourself up with small wins and then push your teammates forward with them. “The most important thing is that we function as a team. We have to be a cohesive unit and tackle this challenge together. No one should back down in the face of it,” he continues.
A close connection with S04
The 35-time Bosnian international kept a close relationship with Schalke throughout his time in England. “I still have a lot of friends here and have kept in touch with some of the staff. The club is very close to my heart,” says Kolasinac, who is excited to be back and can hardly wait to be back out on the pitch with the team.
The defender says that he has developed both athletically and as a person during his time in the Premier League, which he considers to be the strongest league in the world. Now is the time to focus on the 20 Bundesliga games ahead. “It’s important that we take as many points as possible from these,” emphasises the 27-year-old. “I want to make my presence felt and take on responsibility both in training and in the games.” He feels a positive kind of pressure regarding his loan in Gelsenkirchen, but knows that this season’s main aim can only be achieved united, as a club. “We all have to stick together, and that includes the team, the coaching staff, the fans, and the club as a whole.”