Romain Gall/Instagram

Columbus Crew's Gregg Berhalter pleasantly surprised by early returns from new MF Romain Gall

OBETZ, Ohio – After just two training sessions with the Columbus Crew, newly acquired US youth international Romain Gall is already impressing his new coach Gregg Berhalter.

“He’s looked good, better than expected,” Berhalter told reporters after the team’s Tuesday training session. “I didn’t think he was going to be this fit. He’s moving well. He still has a way to go, but he’s been good.”

Gall feels similarly about his new teammates and likes what he’s seen from MLS when compared to the youth systems in France.

“It’s a great level,” Gall told reporters Monday. “I see the guys can play, and the style of play, I like it a lot. They look to play and everyone gives 100 percent. It’s great.”

Last week, Berhalter said he expected Gall to be a speedy option on the wing or behind the striker, and the former FC Lorient man agrees, though he knows he needs to adjust to MLS physicality.

“My strength is in my technical ability,” he said. “I think I can do some different stuff on the technical side. But I also have to improve my game on the physical side and consistency.”

Berhalter would like to see him run at players more often already.

“I think he needs to get a little more aggressive one-on-one,” Berhalter said, “and as he gets comfortable with the speed of the game, I think that will come.”

Gall, a native Parisian who spent part of his youth career in Virginia, said the transition back to the States has been smooth, and his new teammates are helping.

“[They’re] very welcoming,” he said. “Everyone’s just been talking to me, asking me questions, fitting me in the group. I’m pleased. That’s always nice.”

Gall said that Berhalter has told him that his fitness is the priority, and the 19-year-old knows that he might not get much game time in 2014. But that’s not frustrating him yet.

“I definitely want to get on the field as soon as I can,” he said. “But everything is supposed to be timed well. So if I need to get fit for my performance to be better, I need to get fit. There will be no frustration with that because that’s just how it is.”

For Berhalter, the young attacker will need some time before he’s adjusted to MLS.

“It’s different, it’s a different game,” he said. “[Gall] is playing with men now, so it is a little different, but he’ll get up to speed.”

Topics: