Amine, which face can the fans expect to see from you in the coming season? The keen, raring-to-go footballer who was named Rookie of the Year by fans in Germany two years ago based on his performances? Or a footballer who can’t always extract his full potential like at times in the previous year?
I am highly motivated and I what to show what I’m capable of. Everything went really well for me and for the team in my first season at Schalke. It ended finishing runners-up and then I received my award. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to repeat these kind of performances last season. I would like to forget about the season just gone and get back to playing like I did when I was voted the best young player in the Bundesliga in May 2018.
Was there a particular moment that you thought you had to start doing things differently?
There was, yes. The birth of my daughter Alijah at the end of May changed my life. She gives me a lot of strength. I also have a lot of responsibility for my family now.
The birth of my daughter Alijah at the end of May changed my life.
After the terrible accident you were involved in last summer, mental state was definitely a factor last season. How significant was the psychological burden for you?
It was a very difficult time for me and I think about it every day. It was the worst moment of my life. I’ve now learned how to deal with it and to concentrate on football again, but I can obviously never forget what happened. Above all, I am sorry to the victim’s family and friends – I will always have them in my thoughts. The accident will stay with me for the rest of my life. I just wish it had never happened.
Doing this interview in German shows that you’ve grown as a person.
I have learned a lot recently. The club have supported me brilliantly. I have German lessons twice a week with Bodo Menze. Massimo Mariotti, who joined our support staff a weeks ago, also encourages me to speak German. My teammates also help me out too. My German’s getting better every day.
Your communication has improved greatly on the pitch. You seem to have enjoyed the pre-season friendlies – what feedback have you been given from the coach?
David Wagner has a lot of trust in me. He wants me to demand the ball and says I should back myself. If I have the chance to, then I should dribble. I feel really good on the pitch and in the changing rooms at the moment.
Where do you see yourself playing under David Wagner?
I can play in a number of different positions. I have mostly played as an attacking midfielder in pre-season, which I like. I can use my best attributes here. It’s no problem if the coach wants me to play out wide either.
David Wagner has a lot of trust in me.
What is the team’s goal for the coming season?
I don’t want to name a specific place in the table, but obviously we want to finish a lot higher than last season.
You weren’t called up to Morocco’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations. You will have the chance to play yourself back into contention if you play well again for Schalke.
Obviously I want to play for Morocco again, but it’s not a priority for me. Schalke is the most important thing for me right now. Everything else will fall into place if I perform well for the Royal Blues.