Low to groom Germany's rising stars
Coach Joachim Low revealed today plans to groom Germany's next crop of rising stars with a view to UEFA EURO 2012 and to bring Mainz's Lewis Holtby, who has English parentage, into the national squad.
After Germany's stars Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller impressed at the FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa as part of Low's young side which finished third, the next batch of talent is now set to be groomed for greatness ready for EURO 2012.
Dark horses Mainz have shot to the top of the Bundesliga with six straight wins and both striker Andre Schuerrle, 19, and midfielder Holtby, 20, are now set to be promoted to the Germany squad by the end of the year. Low has said next month's EURO 2012 qualifiers against Turkey, on 8 October, and Kazakhstan, on 12 October, may be too soon for the pair, but the friendly against Sweden on 17 November will allow Low to experiment.
"Players like Schuerrle or Holtby in Mainz are moving closer to the national team all the time with their performances," Low told German daily Bild. "It's great to see what is currently being developed in Mainz."
Dortmund pair midfielder Kevin Grosskreutz and defender Mats Hummels are also in a small group of talented youngsters Low is looking at to develop before EURO 2012, to be held in the Ukraine and Poland.
"All of them will still get their chance this year," said Low. "I think for them it is better to play in some U-21 games, rather than sit on the bench with us. [For the match against Sweden], I will use that to try and test out things."
Low has also said he is very keen to look at Everton fan Holtby, who has an English father, after UK newspapers speculated he may opt to play for England, because of his Liverpool-born parent, a former soldier. Holtby has represented Germany at U-18, U-19, U-20 and captained the national U-21 side, but could still play for England unless he wins a senior cap for Low, but has now said he wants to wear the white shirt of Germany.
Holtby even says his father has given his blessing to the decision: "He said if I want to win trophies, then it is a good idea".