Charles De Ketelaere has had a tough start to life at AC Milan which was followed up by a difficult World Cup campaign with Belgium, but Stefano Pioli hopes a turning point is close.
La Gazzetta dello Sport (via MilanNews) recalls how De Ketelaere had a rather anonymous first part of the season with Milan after his big money arrival from Club Brugge, so many hoped that the World Cup could revive him given the high hopes for Belgium, but he played for just 15 minutes in total as they crashed out in the group stages.
Pioli’s mission therefore both at Milanello and in Dubai – where the team will head in a few days – will have to be to recover the real De Ketelaere in view of the resumption of the season in early January. If the Rossoneri want to catch up to Napoli in Serie A and go as far as possible in the Champions League, there is a need to find the Belgian again and fix the issues at No.10.
However, there are already precedents of young players who blossomed after an initial period of difficulty with Sandro Tonali and Rafael Leao standing out above all. The hope is that the same can happen with De Ketelaere, but he will have to demonstrate the right attitude to unlock his technical qualities.
Patience is needed, as Pioli himself explained in recent days: “The break for the World Cup pushes budgets that are too limited: De Ketelaere, Vranckx and Thiaw arrived three months ago, the young players need time.
“Charles is a midfielder who needs to vary. I give him freedom, but without the ball he must have precise indications. In Belgium he played without realising the collaboration of his teammates, now he must learn to read the spaces. This break can help him.”