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Nagelsmann promotes “smart” Gündogan: “We have to trust him more”

Ilkay Gündogan was the DFB team’s guarantor of success against Hungary and earned special praise from Julian Nagelsmann, who is confident that his captain will continue to develop positively

Ilkay Gündogan is certainly not a goalscorer. The 33-year-old has scored 19 goals in 79 international appearances to date, having last netted against the USA in mid-October prior to the European Championship in Julian Nagelsmann’s debut as national team coach. Against Hungary, however, the midfield strategist proved to be extremely attack-minded, setting up Jamal Musiala’s 1:0 and contributing to the 2:0 final score himself. A remarkable achievement, given that he had only managed an assist and a goal of his own in a DFB match three times before

“Improver” moves into the limelight

The “improver” for his teammates, as Gündogan had dubbed himself after the furious 5:1 in the opening game of the European Championship, was the center of attention himself – and promptly received praise from Nagelsmann. “A great goal, you first have to score like that,” he said, first referring to Gündogan’s direct shot in the 67th minute, before highlighting the veteran’s communication: “He has a lot of contact with us on the outside, tries to steer and direct, and doesn’t stubbornly play his own way. He’s a very smart player.”

Against this backdrop and the “extreme successes” that Gündogan has celebrated as captain and absolute top performer at Manchester City, among other things, the 36-year-old formulated a clear wish: “We all need to trust him a little more in the country.” Something that Nagelsmann himself is already doing: “I know what he’s made of, I have a lot of confidence in him. We have to keep pushing him.” Then all German fans can look forward to more top games from Gündogan: “I’m sure it will continue like this. “

Gündogan remains humble and sees room for improvement


Gündogan himself was modest as usual. “I always wanted to do my job as well as possible on the pitch without taking myself too seriously,” he said, summarizing his appearance on the ARD microphone. He was also of the opinion that the team is developing in a good direction: “It feels like it’s getting better and better,” said Gündogan, “but while it’s getting better, we also have to overcome difficulties.” This is simply part and parcel of “a tournament like this” and was “done superbly” by the DFB team in the first round, in which the Magyars had a few chances.

The curve is therefore pointing upwards for both Gündogan and the team as a whole – and it’s not over yet. “The more often you train and, above all, play together, the better the feeling – also for the person next to you,” the FC Barcelona professional is certain and can continue to play himself into the spotlight on Sunday evening against Switzerland.



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