Young Amine Harit has silently been one of the rising stars of the Bundesliga this season. The Morocco man’s rise was probably coming at some point, but the fact that it has come this season is a surprise. Not long ago, there were doubts about Harit’s ability because of his miniature size.
Early on in the season, Morocco coach Vahid Halilhodzic had said that the 22-year-old wasn’t ready to play for the national team. He went onto say that Harit wasn’t showing enough in his performances and commitment to playing for the team. But as time has gone on, Harit is staking his claim to being a star.
This has been Harit’s best season in front of goal, when it comes to his senior-level career. This is his third season at Schalke, having contributed to ten goals in the Bundesliga– as much as he did in the whole of the 2017-18 season. But he has scored more goals this season than he ever has for his club.
Harit first made an impression on a global audience in 2017. He was part of the French Under-20s side that was playing in the FIFA U20s World Cup in Korea. The youngster was a regular in the attacking midfield, picking up two assists and one goal. His nation couldn’t get past the Round of 16, but Harit was one of the standout players.
A move to Schalke followed that summer, as Nantes got £7 million from their prized asset. In his first season, Harit was thriving under Domenico Tedesco. He had the freedom under an attacking brand of football and he had a tally of ten goal contributions, as the Veltins Arena-based side finished second in the table.
After that season, things went awry for Tedesco. And many players’ numbers came down. That included Harit’s. Last season, the attacking midfielder could play only 18 games and had one goal and two assists. While that was a period of transition, David Wagner has brought the club back on track this term.
Under Wagner’s high-pressing, attacking system that has drawn comparisons to that of Jurgen Klopp, Harit has become a much more complete player. He’s matured as a person, picking up 3.2 fouls per game. He has played 1.8 key passes per game- more than ever for a club. He has a tally of 2.3 dribbles per game and takes 1.5 shots per game.
More than that, he has begun to work harder than ever. The high-pressing system demands him to do so and he has done just that.
He gets on the ball more, having more time and space to use it. And Harit has improved as a finisher as well, having exceeded his XG by an impressive 3.14. That is the first time he has done that in his career, having underperformed in every campaign before this one.
On signing a new deal with Schalke, Harit was recently praised by Wagner. The former American striker said (via Bundesliga.com): “I’m happy that he wants to be part of this group and continue his development here. He’s really impressed this past six months, and shown what you can achieve when you work hard and execute a plan.”
The way things have worked out under Wagner for Harit is pretty definitive for the club. Tedesco was failing to make the most out of his side after the 2017-18 season. Harit had become a victim of that. But now, he’s enjoying his life once again.
Despite a mini size, this player is finally maturing. Halilhodzic could soon be left to regret what he had said.