The last time Stephan El Shaarawy was playing to the height of his ability was in late 2012. Ever since then, he has had a nightmarish run with Milan, plagued by injuries and inconsistent playing time.
He hasn't been able to find the back of the net once since scoring 16 goals last season as a teenager. Then again, Il Faraone has only played one game as a starter in the entire 2013-14 campaign.
However, hope is on the horizon.
Clarence Seedorf replaced Massimiliano Allegri in January and called for a more offensive approach, a tactical scheme that requires a player just like Stephan El Shaarawy to truly succeed.
Unfortunately, El Shaarawy will be out for another few months after undergoing foot surgery during the Christmas break.
Here are five reasons why the young Italian striker will find new life under Clarence Seedorf.
The 4-2-3-1 formation is perfect for El Shaarawy, as he's able to play as an attacking midfielder on the left side of the formation.
Other than the offensive presence Il Faraone would bring, he'd also have some defensive responsibility in Seedorf's scheme.
A formation of this type calls for some backward tracking by the attacking midfield trio, and there's nobody better suited for this role than the tireless Italian.
Seedorf has been a part of a few stellar sides. The Dutch coach has won four Champions League titles with three different teams as an attacking midfielder.
It's no wonder that he instantly changed Milan's formation from a 4-3-3 to a more offensive 4-2-3-1, which can effectively take advantage of the Rossoneri's main strength up front.
We still have yet to see the partnership between Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy click on all cylinders like it has a few times on the Italian national team.
Milan's management surely saw something in the way Seedorf related to players that made them want him as the new coach to steer the club back to their glory days.
El Shaarawy was damaged last year. Massimiliano Allegri started using him sparingly toward the end of the season, and he was relegated to the bench during the Confederations Cup with the Italian national team.
To make matters worse, Azzurri boss Cesare Prandelli questioned El Shaarawy's character, according to Goal.com.
Here's where Seedorf can help.
El Shaarawy needs guidance as he moves out of his teens and starts to truly hone all of his various characteristics in one complete package.
Thankfully, this isn't a case of a wily old veteran hitting the twilight of his career.
El Shaarawy just recently turned 21—an age where most players just start getting time if lucky in Serie A.
Having finally had his faulty foot operated on, he can start rehabbing back to full fitness and show Milan fans the form that made all of Europe take notice last season.
This is perhaps the most important pointer—Stephan El Shaarawy is simply too good not to bounce back.
His skill was evident as soon as he was given a chance with Milan, not only showing a natural finishing ability, but plenty of pace on the wing, a tireless engine and decent creativity.
Scoring 16 goals—14 of them in the first half of the season—is an incredible feat in a league like Serie A, where strikers have a hard time netting more than 20 in an entire campaign.