FC Schalke: Daniel Caligiuri keeping his place by sheer force of will

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 29: Daniel Caligiuri of Schalke looks dejected during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and 1. FC Union Berlin at Veltins-Arena on November 29, 2019 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by Frederic Scheidemann/Bongarts/Getty Images)
GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 29: Daniel Caligiuri of Schalke looks dejected during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and 1. FC Union Berlin at Veltins-Arena on November 29, 2019 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by Frederic Scheidemann/Bongarts/Getty Images) /
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FC Schalke are inching towards having a set, regular starting XI, and it’s going to include Daniel Caligiuri, because he just won’t let it not.

With each new FC Schalke starting XI, there are changes. Whether it’s a shift to the amount of midfielders, or a shuffle of the attacking formation, or maybe just some personnel changes, David Wagner keeps playing around to find his best combination. But no matter what changes, one thing never will—Daniel Caligiuri.

His presence, I should say. Because his positions changes just as often as the formation itself, or who is playing around him.

Caligiuri has played like… every position. Ever. He started as a rightback, was primarily used there, moved to right wingback, became a midfielder, then a winger (mostly right-sided) in a diamond, or a 4-2-3-1, maybe even a left winger in a front three.

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You name it, Caligiuri can play it. No matter what other options are there, Caligiuri ensures, through sheer force of will, that he will always be a part of it.

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And there’s a simple reason why this is the case. And no, it has nothing to do with blackmailing David Wagner. He’s just that guy you can’t be without. Every formation has a place for him, because he’s just needed. Even though his passing has been slightly off this year, even when he fades into the background for periods of time. Even when he does (insert literally anything) there will always be a place for him because of what he can do.

Set pieces? Check.

Creating chances? Check.

Driving the attack forward? Check.

Defending? Check.

Link-up play? Check.

Dude does it all. And what’s more remarkable is he does it all no matter what position he is in. If you put him in goal, I’m pretty sure you’d still see him driving up the pitch, eyes towards the opposition’s goal, ready to play in a smart ball. And he’d be back in time to make a brilliant save on the counter too.

When you have a guy that does everything, you don’t just cycle him in and out as you rinse and re-do the starting XI. What would be the point?

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Reliability is one thing, versatility is another. The two rarely ever go hand-in-hand, but for Daniel Caligiuri, they do. And so long as that is the case, FC Schalke will always know what they have in him, and David Wagner is smart enough to not out-think exactly what that is.