Danny Latza: The first training session was really emotional for me
Almost exactly ten years since Danny Latza left the club to sign for SV Darmstadt 98, the midfielder has returned home. The Gelsenkirchen-born academy graduate spoke about his feelings after his first training session back, looking forward to playing with his new teammates and the second division.
Danny, welcome back auf Schalke. How does it feel to be home?
The first training session was really emotional for me. It’s almost ten years to the day that I left the club and moved to Darmstadt. Since then, a lot has changed, especially the training ground. It’s a great feeling to be back wearing the colours of my boyhood club.
Are there still people around the club who you know from back then?
A few. Mike Büskens and Gerald Asamoah for example. I played with Ralf Fährmann in the U17s and U19s. I also know Simon Terrode well because we played together at VfL Bochum. I’m looking forward to getting to know the rest of the team in the coming days. My first impression of my new teammates has been really good. Everybody seems really motivated.
It’s a great feeling to be back wearing the colours of my boyhood club.
After six years at 1. FSV Mainz 05, you chose to return to FC Schalke 04. Why?
I was really up for this challenge. Wearing the Schalke badge is really special to me as I was born in Gelsenkirchen. I had many special years in the Knappenschmiede and I’m really thankful for my education as a footballer back then. When Schalke got in touch a few months ago, I knew I definitely wanted to return. Now I’d like to write a new chapter with the Royal Blues. I was a young player back then, who had to learn a lot. Coming into the first team at 18 or 19, you are still inexperienced. I’ve now experienced a lot in my career and played a lot of football. I’m now one of the most experienced players and I want to contribute to a successful season.
You were recently captain at Mainz. What role do you want to take on here?
I was signed to be a leader. I will be just that and take responsibility. I always want to be positive, even when things might not be going so well.
Lots of things have changed at Schalke after relegation. What things should the team, the club and the fans be preparing for?
I know the second division (Latza played 64 games for VfL Bochum between 2013 and 2015 in the second tier) well and know what to expect. Games will be physical and a lot of teams don’t necessarily prioritise playing good football. It’s a tough league, but I’m confident that we’re prepared for it.