Having come to the fore for Bundesliga-chasing FC Schalke 04 this season, 18-cap Georgian midfielder Levan Kenia looks to have an exciting future, saying himself: "We'll see what I'm capable of."
'The time has come'
Kenia, 19, moved to Gelsenkirchen from FC Lokomotiv Tbilisi in January 2008 but had to wait until the tail end of last term to make his Bundesliga debut. Felix Magath – the man who led VfL Wolfsburg to last season's title – arrived as coach over the summer and Kenia has not looked back since, featuring in ten of Schalke's 12 league games to date. "I knew one day I'd be given a chance," he told uefa.com. "The time has come and I'm very pleased to be in the hands of such a great specialist. The coach believes in me, gives me playing time, but there's no room for total satisfaction. We'll judge my performance at the end of the season."
Schalke are currently well placed in fourth, four points adrift of leaders Bayer 04 Leverkusen. "Magath is a very strong coach," added Kenia. "Many say it's hard to work with him and they're somewhat right. He demands the maximum from every player, but I like this approach. I think I'm in luck to work with him. We're playing for victory in each and every game. We'll see the result at the end."
On a personal level, Kenia is far from content to have broken into the Schalke first team, eyeing far greater things in the future. "I absolutely realise that I have to keep working hard," he added. "Slowly I made my way to the first team and now I'm only thinking how to play better than in the previous match. I understand everything depends on me and my work won't go in vain. We'll see what I'm capable of."
Having made his full international debut at 16, Kenia continues to be a pivotal figure in the Georgian setup. He does, however, take little solace from such an integral role after seeing Georgia pick up just three points in an unsuccessful 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign. "It's hard for me to talk about it because there's really nothing to speak about," he said. "National team results mean a lot to me and I'll do my best so they can bring joy to our fans."
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