Last month I introduced you to Marco Simon and Remo Mahrer, two gifted 2016 Youth Intake Newgens at my club: Grasshopper Club Zürich (GCZ). Today I'll share their development with you all, one year on...
Now it's an extremely hard feat to go the whole season unbeaten. To do it at the age of 16-17 is magnificent and it's exactly what GCZ U18s did in 2016/17. As if that was not enough, the youngsters also pulled off the U18s Swiss Cup...effectively replicating the Senior Team's 'Domestic Double' the year before.
So how much did Marco and Remo contribute to this success? Well, quite a lot:
Marco Simon, now German
Marco was made captain by U18 Manager Johann Vogel. He only missed 2 games the whole U18 league season, captaining 26 games and winning 23 of them! He led by example, covering 329km in the season (12.8km a game). Despite growing up in Switzerland, Marco was born in Germany and swapped allegiance to captain Germany U19s. We can only wonder what influence German GCZ youth coaches Arne Friedrich and Michael Ballack had on Marco's decision.
I was also keen to give Marco some 1st team experience. A 1st team Debut away at Basel (where we sadly lost 3-1) and a title winning sub appearance at home to Aarau. What is key with these brief cameos is that Marco did not seem out of place and this is encouraging for 2017/18 and beyond. My view is that if you're good enough, you're old enough.
Attribute-wise Marco is developing into a solid Box-To-Box midfielder, which complements his PPM of 'Gets into Opposition Area'. He was also tutored this year by Deep Lying Playmaker and Professional Captain, Kim Källström. His Determination has therefore dropped to Kim's level (18) but this has been countered by a more professional attitude and a PPM of 'Tries Long Range Passes'. His Professionalism is something I was keen to boost, this will make it easier to train further PPMs or focus on individual attributes.
2017/18 will be a big year for Marco. I expect him to feature more heavily in our 1st team and I also want to see his Passing & Technique improve.
Remo Mahrer - a change of hairstyle for 2017
Now on to Remo Mahrer, who I described as my Swiss Bergkamp in Part I. The 2016/17 season started fairly quiet for Remo. He picked up a few injuries and attribute-wise was not developing as much as I would like. He did however pick up form as the U18 season went on and finished as the league's top scorer with 12 goals in 23 games. He also made 130 key passes in those 23 games, leading the way in the league's statistics (note - Marco SImon was 2nd on this list with 74 key passes). Therefore, Remo has something special. I see him as a Shadow Striker as he matures, but I desperately needs to increase his Composure, Decisions & Strength.
Like Marco, Remo is also capped at U19 level although Remo is more of a peripheral figure in the Swiss team. He needs to work hard and see if he can achieve further International reignition and add consistency to his game. If he does that, he may get some 1st team action in 2017/18.
Thanks for reading this quick update. Next blog is my End of Season 2 Awards Ceremony (expected Friday 15th).