2. Ozan Kabak
I don’t know if I have ever been this confident in a 19-year-old. Not that age has that much of a bearing on talent, but it usually does on composure, maturity, reliability. And those are three adjectives I would immediately equate with Ozan Kabak. As well as a handful of other plaudits.
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- Schalke 04: Ozan Kabak makes Jean-Claire Todibo pass quietly
- Schalke 04: Omar Mascarell the only boost between now and then
- Schalke 04: David Wagner just has to make it to the end of the season
- Schalke 04: At least we still have Weston McKennie
The point is, this man has stepped into a massive void left by Salif Sane and Benjamin Stambouli and made it feel like they were never even there. Taking over for one or the other would be one thing, but he has had to meld into a premier role next to Matija Nastasic (who deserves a ton of credit in his own right) and reaffirm this club’s defensive solidity.
He’s done that and then some. He’s also provided superb aerial dominance, scoring goals and providing assists with his head. So much so that I had to include him on this list for his goal-scoring prowess too. Get him into the box on a set-piece and look what happens. It’s a key man if I’ve ever seen one.
Thus far, we have yet to see a really glaring flaw in his game and, until we do (which may be never), it’s okay to embrace how important he has suddenly become to this club and its success.
Finally, let’s jump in to No. 1.