Ronnie Schwartz has yet to live up to expectations during his short time at The Valley, but is there more to it than meets the eye? We take a look at the potential reasons behind the Great Dane’s slow start.
When Jayden Stockley was felled in the Oxford United box in the third minute of added time yesterday afternoon, Ronnie Schwartz’s eyes must have lit up. What better chance to end his goal drought and win three points for his new club at the same time? Alas, his penalty was saved and the final whistle was blown immediately after with the match ending in a stalemate.
Schwartz’s Charlton career actually got off to a flying start. After his long-awaited move from FC Midtjylland in January, he came off the bench in just his second appearance for the club to secure a point with the equalising goal in a 4-4 thriller against Rochdale. Since then, however, Ronnie has failed to find the net in 327 minutes of football for The Addicks.
Much of the frustration at the lack of goals is due to the reputation with which Schwartz arrived. This is a man who was top scorer in the Danish Superliga just last season. Granted, the standard of football in Denmark is not on par with the Premier League, but it would be foolish to pretend it’s not better than League One. It’s fair to say the majority of Charlton fans expected Schwartz to arrive in SE7 and bang in the goals from day one.
Except, when a player relocates to a new country with a totally alien style of football, that hardly ever happens. Just take a look across to West London where a certain Timo Werner is facing many of the same struggles. Schwartz signed a two-and-a-half year deal in January, tying him down at the club until the summer of 2023. While it would have been nice for him to hit the ground running, he still has plenty of time to show what he can do.
It’s been widely reported that Ronnie’s pregnant partner is still living in Denmark due to the pandemic, something which must have made his move to London that much harder. Speaking of the pandemic, living in lockdown ever since moving to a new country can’t be easy either. Schwartz would have been excited at the prospect of moving to London and is probably itching to explore his new surroundings. Instead, his UK experience will have been restricted to his home, Sparrows Lane, The Valley and the team bus.
Recently fans have taken to social media to question whether the signing was down to Lee Bowyer and Steve Gallen, as we’ve come to expect, or whether fellow Dane Thomas Sandgaard used his influence to make it happen. Sandgaard may well have played a part in the signing – it would have been crazy if he didn’t given their shared nationality – but we all know that Bowyer wouldn’t play someone if he didn’t think they were good enough. In all likelihood Ronnie is showing his true quality at the training ground and it’s only a matter of time before it clicks into place on the pitch.
One thing that is for certain, is that the abuse directed towards Schwartz from a small minority on social media yesterday is completely unacceptable. He showed guts to take the penalty in the first place and in truth it wasn’t even a bad effort, the Oxford goalkeeper made a great save. On another day that flies into the bottom corner and we’re not even having this conversation. Ronnie is also not the first player to ever miss a penalty. One fan summed it up perfectly on Instagram yesterday: “penalties are scored and they are missed, just a shame this one was the latter.”
Whatever your opinion on Ronnie Scwartz, there’s not a single Charlton fan who wants his goal drought to last any longer than it currently has. As previously mentioned, the Great Dane could be at the club until at least 2023. Let’s hope we see Ronnie scoring the type of goals we all saw in those YouTube montages for years to come.