Appearances can be deceiving. Though Jerome Boateng often conveys a rather casual demeanour, the 1.90m defender is one of the toughest tacklers in the Bundesliga. The 21-year-old is equally adept at centre-back as he is on the right and has developed into one of the most consistent performers at club side Hamburg, not to mention one of the most promising youngsters in the German national team.
Born in Berlin to a Ghanaian father, Boateng learned his football trade with capital clubs Tennis Borussia, and then Hertha Berlin. He made his Bundesliga debut for the 'Old Lady' at 18 before moving on to HSV after just ten first-team appearances. His versatility proved a major advantage as he became a regular in the Red Shorts' starting line up, making 26 appearances in his first season at the club.
The towering defender first attracted attention with his solid performances in the various German national youth teams, forming a key part of the squad which celebrated victory at the UEFA U-21 European Championship 2009 in Sweden. Calm, composed and equally ferocious in the air as he is in the challenge, Boateng is what most coaches would consider a dream defender.
Boateng suffered a major setback in his first senior appearance at international level by becoming the first ever Germany debutant to be shown a red card in Germany’s crucial 1-0 win against Russia during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaign. However, anyone who knows the Hamburg star will agree that that disappointment will have given him all the more determination to prove himself at South Africa 2010.