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Weston McKennie talks about his accelerated development at Schalke

FC Schalke 04 v RB Leipzig - Bundesliga
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USA international Weston McKennie talks about his Schalke career and the progress he’s made over the past two years.

Weston McKennie is a 20-year old American footballer, who plays as a midfielder for Schalke 04.

He arrived at the club in 2016 from FC Dallas, and after spending less than a year with Schalke’s academy team, the youngster was promoted to the first-team squad.

McKennie has appeared in 41 games in the Bundesliga since then. His excellent games with the club earned him the first call from the USA national team in November 2017. The youngster scored on his international debut in a friendly game against Portugal.

He talked about his development in Germany over the past two years: “It’s been a dream come true,” McKennie said via Bundesliga’s official website. “It’s been a lot different than I thought.

“I thought I’d have to work really hard to get playing time in my first season and then maybe my second season get more playing time, but I got a lot more playing time than I thought I would last year.

“I got a lot of trust from the staff, and then this year I’m getting even more playing time. I guess it worked in the right way.

“I think I’ve arrived a bit more, but I don’t think I’ve arrived fully,” McKennie said of his performances in 2018/19, which have seen him line up as a right-back, centre-back, central midfielder, attacking midfielder and second striker.

“I fight, I go into tackles, go into headers. I do everything I can. I don’t really give up on a play until it’s over.”

He suffered a severe left ankle injury in the friendly game against Ecuador on Thursday night but hopes to be fit for Schalke’s upcoming Bundesliga games.

“When things aren’t going well, it’s a professional player’s nightmare. Knowing the people that you play for, to not be able to give them points is like not being able to give a kid a Christmas gift on Christmas.

“The fans feel it if you’re not willing to give everything you have – but that’s not the person I am. If I’m sick or injured, I’m still going to try and give everything I can until I can’t give any more.”