Germany and Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has credited a change of position to his improved fortunes on the pitch.
At just 25-years-old Schweinsteiger is already a veteran of 79 caps and if he continues like this he could well break German legend Lothar Matthaus's record of 150 appearances for his country.
But having spent most of his early international career on the wing, where although highly competent he didn't exactly excel, Schweinsteiger is now the heartbeat of the German midfield and a permanent fixture in the middle of the park. "The big difference for me is being able to play in my favourite position in the centre of midfield," he said before thanking his club coach for the switch.
"Louis van Gaal gave me that chance, it's gone well. I'm playing well because the whole team is playing well. I have to thank (Van Gaal) for that, the other coaches possibly didn't have the choice with (Michael) Ballack and (Owen) Hargreaves (as competition in Bayern's midfield)."
His national team coach Joachim Low has also noticed not just an improvement in Schweinsteiger's play but also a changed outlook. "Schweinsteiger has matured an incredible amount these last two years," he said.
I'm very happy with how calm he is after we win, he puts things in perspective and says that it's not over yet. He's totally focussed on the ultimate goal, winning this match, he's got the right attitude.
"Already at Euro 2008 he had a lot of responsibility, he's very focussed, he knows his responsibilities and we could see that straight away when he turned up for the training camp. I'm very happy with how calm he is after we win, he puts things in perspective and says that it's not over yet. He's totally focussed on the ultimate goal, winning this match, he's got the right attitude."
That change in attitude has also been noted by another Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer, who recently observed: "What has changed with Schweinsteiger is that his football has become more important to him than his choice of hairstyle."
The Bayern midfielder agrees with that assessment, saying results are what matter to him. "I don't want to be a rock star, I just want to play well. I've already lost a Champions League final to Inter Milan last season) and UEFA EURO 2008 final (to Wednesday's opponents Spain)," he said. "This will be tougher than Argentina or England, Spain are the best team in the world."
However, Schweinsteiger, whose Bayern side lost 2-0 to Inter in the UEFA Champions League final in Madrid in May, believes that football in Germany is on the rise. "We've improved the quality of the Bundesliga, none of our players play in England, Spain or Italy but Bayern reached the Champions League final and Hamburg, (Werder) Bremen and Schalke 04 also have great teams. The future is looking bright in Germany."