Home » Aging in the national team: Hannes Wolf wants more Musiala and Wirtz

Aging in the national team: Hannes Wolf wants more Musiala and Wirtz

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Aging in the national team: Hannes Wolf wants more Musiala and Wirtz

As of: March 7, 2024 2:23 p.m

In the squad for the national team’s test matches, there are probably only two players under 23, Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz. DFB youth director Hannes Wolf wants to change that.

Sandro Wagner is the father of four children. His two sons play football enthusiastically, and his daughters “maybe that will happen later,” said the assistant coach of the German national team on Wednesday (March 6, 2024) and smiled.

The 36-year-old was an eyewitness to FC Bayern’s liberation in the Champions League this week before he appeared on the DFB campus the next morning as a key witness: to promote the fact that the football base in Germany is being treated with two million children and young people has to rethink.

Maximilian Beier would be the third young bearer of hope

Because of his experience with his children, Wagner wholeheartedly supports the need to train according to a new training philosophy in the future in order to improve individual development. All of this will ensure that German football will continue to produce more talent at the top in the future. The nomination of the next senior national team squad next Thursday (March 14, 2024) will reveal that there are far too few.

Then national coach Julian Nagelsmann announces his squad for the international matches against France in Lyon (March 23, 2024) and against the Netherlands three days later in Frankfurt: These players will also form the framework for the home European Championship.

It is already becoming apparent that a district is being named that is a bit outdated. Jamal Musiala, 21, and Florian Wirtz, 20, may receive support from shooting star Maximilian Beier, 21, who is on everyone’s lips at TSG Hoffenheim with his twelve goals this season.

With the return of Toni Kroos, the average age is increasing

But otherwise there is a great emptiness at the highest level in this age group. With the return of Toni Kroos, 34, the trend is increasing that Nagelsmann is (forced?) relying even more on veterans. Wagner also sees immense added value in the midfielder: “He’s a huge player!” His comeback, Kroos revealed after Real Madrid’s Champions League home game against RB Leipzig (1:2), also had something to do with “when you see how the last few years have gone.”

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Also really bad because of the lack of talent in three tournaments. That’s why the 2014 world champion should now help. It is not unreasonable that there are seven players in the starting line-up against Vice World Champion France with Manuel Neuer, Toni Rüdiger, Mats Hummels, Pascal Groß, Ilkay Gündogan, Niclas Füllkrug and the returnee Kroos who are 30 years old and older.

As a family man, he sees the mistakes at the base: Sandro Wagner

Even the first squads under Nagelsmann had a record average age. His 27 players for the international matches against Turkey (2:3) and Austria (0:2) averaged 28.48 years, and before that even 28.54 for their debut against the USA (3:1) and Mexico (2:2). Years. Older than it has been for two decades.

The U17 world champions still need time

A fact that the new DFB director for young talent, training and development, Hannes Wolf, dislikes. “We have to admit that we haven’t done so well in the past. We need 20 to 25-year-old players who are pushing their way into the national team in all positions,” Wolf told sportschau.de when asked.

Where are the black, red and gold hopefuls to play for titles again at a World or European Championship? The U17 world champions around Paris Brunner first have to gain a foothold in the Bundesliga – and that will be difficult enough. Wolf warned that there was a lack of quality at the botched U21 European Championships last summer, because of which the men, unlike the women, did not take part in the Olympic football tournament.

“The talent pool that Antonio di Salvio could draw on was a third or a quarter of England and France. Of what potential we had, we didn’t do well.” According to the 42-year-old, the German junior staff also lagged significantly behind in terms of operating times.

We have to train at the top level so that the players can play in the third, second or first division at the age of 19.

Hannes Wolf, DFB youth director

When it comes to training formats, most people are behind it

But that’s just one problem above, the other is “the drop-out”. Too many juniors quit before they grow up. Wolf: “Then you have four E-youth teams, but only one playing group in the A-youth. We have to turn that around and spend every minute on developing individual quality.” That’s why Wolf and his team are enthusiastically campaigning for a rethink.

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In the association and in clubs, at the bases, but also at schools. The rule of thumb: smaller fields, smaller teams. The association argues that the three-on-three variant results in four times as many ball actions and football-specific decisions as compared to seven-on-seven.

“We can’t decide that, but we have the feeling that we can manage the paradigm shift – and turn back the tactics. We’re hitting open doors – especially when it comes to the training formats. There are still reservations here and there when it comes to the game formats – but it’s moving is moving in a good direction,” said Wolf.

There may still be a need for reform in older age groups

Joy, intensity and repetition are the key words. “The aim of the training is the holistic development of individual quality,” says a DFB motto. Just doing laps, rehearsing a tension kick or practicing headers: that’s not what training should look like. And: Sitting on the bench or not being in the squad doesn’t help anyone with the youngest players.

For Wagner, it is “complete madness that children have to stay at home on weekends. Personally, it breaks my heart when a father drives his child for an hour to play football and then doesn’t even see him play.” First of all, the reform of the new game forms is only valid up to the E-Juniors from summer. During the first update, Wolf self-critically stated that “certain things were not solved” from the D-Juniors onwards.

Further investigations, suggestions and debates must follow here in order to probably reduce the team size here too. The urgency could increase if the 2024 European Championships don’t go according to plan for the home team. Because perhaps some of the chosen ones have already passed their peak?

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