GdS: Six examples that prove patience is important amid De Ketelaere’s struggles

By Oliver Fisher -

Charles De Ketelaere was AC Milan’s big summer signing and though he is yet to get off the mark in terms of goals, there are plenty examples that prove patience is key.

La Gazzetta dello Sport recall how Rafael Leao went through a journey of being an inconsistent talent to the Serie A MVP, and last year he led Milan to the Scudetto with 11 goals and 12 assists, a far cry from two years ago when he wasn’t even guaranteed of a starting spot.

Theo Hernandez went from being branded by Marco Giampaolo as ‘tactically undisciplined’ in 2019 when he was the back-up to Ricardo Rodriguez, and he is now considered one of the best left-backs in the world.

Sandro Tonali’s first season at Milan on loan from Brescia did not go all to play as he often found himself behind Franck Kessie and Ismael Bennacer in the pecking order, but he kept his head down in order to learn and grow, becoming virtually undroppable now.

Then there is Pierre Kalulu, who arrived as a relative unknown from Lyon’s academy where he was a full-back, then during the Scudetto season he was the starting centre-back in a pairing with Fikayo Tomori that conceded two goals in the last 11 league games of the season.

Alexis Saelemaekers was another unknown quantity when he arrived from Anderlecht on an initial loan and he played his first game as a right-back, now transitioning to a wing-back after time as the right winger, providing crucial balance given the attacking tendencies of the left flank.

Finally, there is Ante Rebic. In his first six months at Milan he had no goals and no assists. He transformed in the second half of the 2019-20 campaign, netting 11 goals in 19 games.

Tags AC Milan Charles De Ketelaere


  1. We have no choice but be patient with him. Yes he isnt Kaka but we havent seen him being himself yet.

    Probably he is a slow starter. I hope so

  2. At least is positive sign that he find him self in some chanses to score, that wasn’t the case before and there is some anger some sort of reaction when he misses. So he is not invisible and this is some sort of reaction.and he tries to make impact in attack, plays defense so I believe is change in positive direction. Yes , very small change but…

  3. All of those players showed signs of talent. CDK shows absolutely nothing. Also, what about Paqueta? Hauge? Why point out just the ones that got better and not the ones that left as failures?
    Either way, they all have something in common: they were trained by the most stubborn coach in the world. The fact that several talented players needed years to develop is just proof of Pioli’s lack of skill in this area.

    1. I’m no great Pioli defender but you sound like a loon! The overwhelming majority of players need several years to develop. Players like Mbappe and Haaland becoming household names at 19 are the exception not the rule. I really don’t think Pioli has issues developing players, he struggles to integrate new players quite a bit though, don’t confuse the two.
      Also what’s your point with Hauge and Paqueta? Hauge wasn’t good enough and was sold for profit, Paquate was given up on before he had time to settle and look how that turned out. You are doing the same to CDK.

    2. CDK has good close control, an eye for a pass and good positioning. Paqueta is still a fraud, there’s a reason he’s struggling at a crap team like West Ham.

  4. CDK will be fine. The talent is there. Just need patience. May take a few years but he will come good. As I said in summer would have been better to get him early so he had time to integrate in the squad – but we haggled over the price until the very end for nothing because we ended up paying what Brugge wanted all along – the 35M – and because of that he didn’t have the opportunity to settle in before the season started. Those things matter for young players especially ones coming from smaller leagues and having to immerse themselves in a new culture/language with the expectations of such a historical club. So this should not be unexpected. Give him time and like the other talents M&M have found us – CDK will come good.

    1. You are right about the summer. One of the biggest failures was the wasted time. Thiaw, vranckx, cdk etc all came at the end of preseason, which is vital for integrating new, young players

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