El Shaarawy to flourish with Seedorf

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Marco Luzzani/Getty ImagesStephan El Shaarawy should make a positive impact under Seedorf.

The story of Stephan El Shaarawy's emergence and fall last season has been well-documented and after a summer of transfer speculation and a season disrupted by injuries, the 21-year-old would appear to be on the outside looking in as he continues to recover from foot surgery.

However, having watched on as the Clarence Seedorf era began last month, El Shaarawy will like many supporters be buoyed by what he has seen thus far. From the 4-2-3-1 system to the lack of an ideal alternative for a player with his skills, the stage is practically set for him to flourish when he returns next month.

Having emerged as a genuine star of this Milan squad in the first half of last season, Mario Balotelli's arrival last January arguably had as much of an effect on El Shaarawy as fatigue did, having carried the club on his shoulders in the wake of losing so many influential players the previous summer.

It was unrealistic to expect the youngster to maintain that high level of form throughout an entire campaign and while blame was placed with various people, ultimately he perhaps set the standard too high too soon.

Nevertheless his speed, work-rate and creativity on the left-flank is ideal for Seedorf's system; ultimately he will not only pose a goal-scoring threat by cutting inside, but he will effectively stretch the play and opposing defences with his pace and general movement. That in turn will allow Balotelli, restored to being the focal point of Milan's attack, to have more space and time to produce his own brand of magic, leaving El Shaarawy to contribute in the defensive phase with his tireless tracking back.

Initially, there was concern considering the January transfer window acquisitions that perhaps he would fail to find room in the starting line-up. Seedorf appears to favour fielding Robinho in El Shaarawy's potential role -- although the Brazilian does alternate with countryman Kaka -- but the former's time in the starting XI must surely be coming to an end as each game passes.

Robinho's agent suggested that the San Siro whistles were a response to his client's inability to reach the level expected of him more recently, and he is arguably no longer capable of reaching it on a consistent. As a result, Adel Taarabt and Keisuke Honda arguably pose the greater danger to the Brazilian, given that it's unlikely for a huge amount of faith to be placed in the likes of Riccardo Saponara and Valter Birsa at this time.

Seedorf has made some questionable decisions thus far, but it is hoped that he recognises that El Shaarawy is a major part of the future of the Rossoneri, and with time and faith he is almost a perfect piece of the puzzle moving forward.

With his return set for March, much could change in that time as Taarabt will likely be given an opportunity at some stage, Honda will continue to settle in his new surroundings and Kaka is generally seen as a dependable presence. But based on the initial evidence from Seedorf's first few games in charge, it is clear that there is space for El Shaarawy and he could have a significant role to play in the Dutchman's ideas as the club moves forward

Confident that El Shaarawy has a pivotal role to play under Seedorf?

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