In hindsight, there were plenty of signs pointing to the idea that Patrik Schick might not have been the perfect signing for Roma. The rumors suggesting that he was simply a backup plan for Riyad Mahrez (how’s the bench at Manchester City, by the way?) probably didn’t help, but his record-breaking transfer fee alone meant that there was an awful lot of pressure on the young Czech to produce, and produce now. As we seem to have written about ad nauseam here at Chiesa di Totti, Schick has not met those expectations; he hasn’t even been able to match his goalscoring output from his heady Sampdoria season during his entire time in Rome.
I hate to admit it, but each day I think more and more that Schick may be Roma’s very own Markelle Fultz. For those of you who don’t follow the NBA, Fultz was the consensus #1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft; he was heralded in college as having all the skills necessary to be a generational talent, and with that in mind, the Philadelphia 76ers traded up to pair him with the rest of their exciting young core. A combination of injuries, “yips”, and sheer lack of luck has meant that Fultz has not produced to even one-tenth of what’s been expected of him, and many think that most of that goes down to mental issues. Both Fultz and the Sixers say the best is yet to come, but many are skeptical.
If Roma’s Fultz is Schick, at least Schick is beginning to realize it. Schick is now working with a mental coach and motivational author to get past his struggles. The former chair of Microsoft Europe, Jan Mühlfeit, will now be Schick’s personal mental trainer to help him get past his underwhelming time in Rome to date. I personally hope that he’s able to get over the hump as soon as possible; there’s a lot of untapped potential in the striker, and I hope he can unlock that potential while still wearing a Roma kit.