Omar, you’re currently training in Mittersill ahead of the new season. How tiring is the camp?
I am very tired in the evenings. But that’s normal during a training camp; it’s a part of it. Anything else would be a bad thing. So far, we’ve trained hard but that doesn’t take the enjoyment away. As a team we’re working really well and I think the many fans that have travelled with us have seen that too.
What is the focus during the training sessions?
We’re working a lot on our game after winning possession. After winning the ball we want to attack directly, but not always relying on long balls. You can create chances with good, fast passing play. It’s not perfected yet but I think we’re well on the way.
You began pre-season training individually as you picked up a foot injury at the end of last season. Are you pain free now?
Yes, I’m doing well. During the summer break I took care of it but returned to full training a little later than my teammates. But I’m fully fit now and don’t feel any pain.
Last season you only made 14 out of a possible 34 Bundesliga appearances…
Of course I would have hoped for more game time, but it turned out differently. It was hard for me but I had to accept the situation and didn’t get myself down. In every training session I gave everything and waited for my chance.
Towards the end of the season, you were played a lot by Huub Stevens.
He believed in me, and I’m very grateful to him for that. Now it is a different situation again. I want to build on my performance last season; the increased game time gave me a lot of self belief. I’m going into my second season here with a lot of confidence.
I didn’t get myself down and waited for my chance.
In the past few weeks there were rumours that you wanted to leave the club – was that true?
I read about that, but there was nothing in the rumours and I’m not sure where they came from. For me I was always sure that I wanted to stay here and continue at Schalke.
Have you had a long conversation with David Wagner?
Yes. We’ve exchanged ideas, which I really liked. I like his view of football and got a good feeling from him. But it isn’t just David Wagner who is working with us. His coaching team, supervisors and the rest of his staff do everything to make us feel comfortable and perform to the best of our ability.
In which position do you see yourself most effective?
I prefer to play in the number 6 role. I think that brings the best out of me and I’ve been playing there for a number of years now.
On Friday we will play Villarreal CF. Although it’s just a friendly, will it be a special game for you?
Of course. I’m Spanish and we’re coming up against a Spanish team. I’m looking forward to the clash against them; they are a strong opponent who did well in the league last season. It will be a good test for us.