Schalke youth coach Norbert Elgert, famed for developing superstars like Mesut Ozil, Julian Draxler and most recently Leroy Sane, has revealed exactly how Liverpool centre-back Joel Matip has made it to the top of the sport despite possessing only 'ordinary' levels of talent.
Matip was a Schalke player from the age of nine after joining the youth ranks in 2000. He progressed through the ranks under Elgert's watchful eye and went on to play over 250 games for the first-team before joining Liverpool upon the expiration of his contract in 2016.
For Elgert, all the success the Cameroon international has enjoyed is a reward for hard work.
Joel Matip was a little bit reserved and introverted but he was still self-confident. His talent was not out of the ordinary but he had a fantastic attitude and work ethic," the revered 60-year-old coach explained in an interview with Sky Sports.
"His path was not foreseeable but he always wanted to improve every day and he worked intensely hard. He went on a fantastic journey because of his attitude and his work ethic."
One of the key strands of Elgert's coaching is instilling a work ethic and patience in young players, as he believes that football increasingly harbours a 'run before you can walk' mindset.
"[Young players] must be willing to work hard and work smart over a long time. It is impossible to climb the ladder overnight," he stated.
"Too many young people want to spring from the first rung to the tenth. You must go step by step.
"You can see a lack of patience in society today. Too many people, not only young people, want to be a superstar overnight. It is not normal.
"Success takes time. It is not possible to be a top player after playing for two years. Things change but the rules of success do not. The players must use the stairs not the elevator."