National team: Captaincy for Gündogan no guarantee of starting eleven at European Championship

National team: Captaincy for Gündogan no guarantee of starting eleven at European Championship

llkay Gündogan will lead the national team into the European Championship tournament as captain. But does that mean he will always be a regular? “Modern football has changed,” is the answer.

Ilkay Gündogan does not see the captaincy as a guarantee that he will be in the starting eleven for every match of the national team at the European Football Championship. Despite his hierarchical position, the 33-year-old FC Barcelona midfielder is ultimately exposed to the normal competition for playing time and a place in the starting line-up.

“I believe that modern football has changed. It is no longer structured in such a way that you say the captain always has to play. The level of performance is simply too high for that,” said Gündogan a week before the opening match of the home tournament in Munich against Scotland.

The captain also has to prove himself again and again

“We have an extremely large number of great footballers. Whether you’re captain or not, you always have to prove yourself anew,” explained the 76-time national player, who has been leading the DFB team as captain since last September. “You have to give the coach the feeling in training that you’re ready to go. It’s then the coach’s responsibility to find the right players,” argued the experienced FC Barcelona professional at the European Championship headquarters in Herzogenaurach.

For national coach Julian Nagelsmann, the captaincy is not crucial either. But Gündogan plays a central role in his dream team for the European Championship. The veteran is a fixed player in the offensive for the start of the tournament alongside the two young stars Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz as well as the leading attacker Kai Havertz.

Gündogan’s role at Nagelsmann

Gündogan is expected to use his experience to provide structure and organization in Germany’s attacking game. To do this, he wants to get himself in the best shape possible in the remaining days before the Scotland game, including physically. Gündogan was not in that shape in the 0-0 friendly against Ukraine at the beginning of the week.

For Gündogan, however, this is understandable. “It was perhaps one of the toughest seasons I’ve had in my career,” he said, looking back on his first year at FC Barcelona. “You might not think so, because I was in England for Manchester City for seven years.”

“I didn’t fly through the season”

However, the rotation options in Barcelona were not as plentiful as in the English champions’ broad and high-caliber squad. Gündogan played almost every game for Barça. “I’ve played an extremely large number of minutes. I didn’t fly through the season.”

It is therefore helpful for him to consciously control the workload during preparation for the European Championship. “It is good that you manage the minutes, that I only played 45 minutes against Ukraine. Now the aim is to be in top shape for the opening game and ready to invest everything in the tournament,” said Gündogan before the European Championship dress rehearsal against Greece in Mönchengladbach next Friday. “We also have another week after the friendly. That helps me enormously personally.”

Source: Stern

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