The 19-year-old himself spoke on his rapid rise whilst speaking to German broadcaster DAZN on Friday night during his post-match-interview.
FCA trainer Enrico Maaßen and club sporting director Stefan Reuter have also commented on the youngster’s improbable ascent.
Amid a flurry of signings completed near the transfer deadline, some may have forgotten that one of the Bundesliga’s most active clubs also landed what was considered to be more of a developmental prospect earlier in the month. Teenage talent Arne Engels wasn’t expected to feature in the Augsburg XI straight away. Many were very surprised to see the 19-year-old midfielder in the starting blocks when Augsburg kicked off against Dortmund in the first round back from the World Cup break
Engels got the nod as many players presumed to be ahead of him on the depth chart – Niklas Dorsch, Arne Maier, Juilian Baumgartlinger, and Irvin Cardona – were either injured, needed elsewhere on the pitch, or not quite ready to start in FCA trainer Enrico Maaßen’s system just yet. So it came to pass that Engels – who wasn’t even playing for club Brugge’s first team when he signed this winter – got thrown into the fire early.
The youngster Augsburg paid just €100,000 for last month responded well and now appears to have a regular starting role locked down. Engels has started all four of Augsburg’s fixtures thus far in the new calendar year. He notched an assist in the 3-4 loss to Dortmund. He collected his second assist in the 1-0 win over Leverkusen on Friday night.
The former Club NXT player himself had difficulty explaining his fortune in a Friday night interview.
“I don’t know what’s happening right now,” Engels told German broadcaster DAN in his post-match interview, It’s really crazy, but I’m trying to remain calm.”
“Calm” was also the word used by Maaßen to explain why Engels keeps getting minutes.
“He is very calm, very level-headed, very flexible,” Maaßen told Mario Krischel of Germany’s Kicker magazine, “possesses solid physicality, has a very good finish with left and right, a very good passing game.”
The man responsible for bringing Engels obviously had some beaming to do. FCA sporting director Stefan Reuter, while cautioning that the youngster needed to “take it slow”, called Engels’ development “extraordinary”. Engels is already taking the team’s set-pieces. Mërgim Berisha benefitted from an Engels corner when scoring the game-winner on Friday night.
“The way he’s playing, I hope he never slips out of the starting XI,” Maaßen added, “It’s really sound and impressive.”
Engels himself naturally hopes for the same thing. The teenager who has modeled his game after idol Kevin de Bruyne noted that he just needed to keep forgetting his age and focus on delivering more mature performances.
“Age doesn’t matter in football,” he noted, “You have to stand your ground, be strong, be ready for every duel, “I keep playing my game and I think I’m doing quite well so far.”