MN: De Ketelaere’s refreshing honesty begins mission to win back starting spot

By Oliver Fisher -

Charles De Ketelaere provided an honest reflection of his start to life at AC Milan over the international break, and there is a mission for him to complete between now and the end of the season.

De Ketelaere’s words to Het Laatste Nieuws yesterday were an admission that he is experiencing a difficult first season at Milan in which he has not contributed a single goal and lost his starting spot to the point he has not been used regularly for a while.

The Belgian conceded that his debut season with the Rossoneri has been ‘disappointing, indeed negative’ and they ‘certainly weren’t my expectations’. The reason? “There are many reasons. One is the environment, a higher level of football, adaptation to many things. Life off the pitch. After an excellent season with Brugge and after the transfer to Milan, which I do not regret, I wished I was more important than I have been so far.

“I certainly feel and appreciate the affection and support of my companions, but I don’t want to remain in this situation all the time: I would like to show that I’m hungry and that I live for football and to perform well. I don’t want it to become a problem… If we were to believe the media, it seems that every day I arrive at Milanello crying (laughs.)”

It was a small joke but one that showed De Ketelaere is aware of what is being said about him and still has the confidence and character to show some humour about the rumours of being discontent.

He also spoke at length about the differences between Belgium and Italy: “The level is higher and there is a higher intensity. It is more difficult to enter the opponent’s penalty area. The game is more tactical, you have to be more concentrated during the match. Even during training we deal more with tactics than we did in Belgium.”

The 22-year-old showed absolutely no suggestion that he has written off his first season at Milan as a failure though: “I try to finish the season by working as hard as possible every day to then be able to get a starting position. For the moment, I’m not thinking of anything else.”

Now, the former Club Brugge man is on a mission to get back the starting spot he had at the beginning of the season, because since Pioli relegated him only to 15-20 minute segments it has been even harder to show his qualities.

Tags AC Milan Charles De Ketelaere
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