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Why Neuer doesn’t care about the goalkeeper debate – and what he won’t reveal “just yet”

After a largely individual weekend, Julian Nagelsmann has tightened the reins again on his European Championship delegation. Manuel Neuer warns against Hungary, talks about the goalkeeping debate and his future

The team meeting on Sunday evening was followed on Monday by the first team training session since the convincing 5:1 opening win against Scotland. “Now the focus is on us, we’re concentrating on the future again,” said Manuel Neuer, looking ahead to Wednesday’s second group game against Hungary in Stuttgart. At 38 years of age, the oldest member of the German European Championship squad watched the disappointing 3-1 defeat of the Magyars against Switzerland on TV on Saturday, but he does not want to be dazzled by the rather pedestrian performance.

“We’ve built up a certain amount of self-confidence, but Hungary will be a different proposition. They’re a very unpleasant team who are aggressive in tackles,” said the keeper, who is about to make his 17th appearance at the European Championships and would therefore equal Gianluigi Buffon’s record. Neuer described Hungary’s second-half surge, when they came close to drawing 2-2, as “a big warning signal” for the home side: “We’ve got our feet on the ground. We won’t underestimate them under any circumstances. “

“I haven’t read through anything “

Against the Scots, Neuer was powerless against the goal and otherwise largely unemployed. As a result, he had virtually no opportunity to show a sporting reaction to the discussions following his recent slip-ups. The mistake in the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid (after a strong performance beforehand), the two lapses in the 4-2 season finale against Hoffenheim, the inconsequential misplaced pass in the final phase of the test against Ukraine and the lapse before the 0:1 in the final 2:1 victory in the European Championship dress rehearsal against Greece: the moments of weakness have been piling up for the veteran in recent weeks

At the press conference at the DFB headquarters on Monday, Neuer let the doubts bounce off like the opponents’ shots on a good day. “I haven’t given much thought to these debates. I looked at it from the outside and didn’t read through anything,” replied the Munich player, emphasizing what was important to him: “I’ve always done things in such a way that I go into the analysis with the people in charge or the people in charge with me, discuss everything and evaluate it. The relationship of trust with the players and the coaching team is important, and there is a great deal of trust there. “

“If we start discussions everywhere, it doesn’t help “

In fact, there isn’t a single voice in the squad that doesn’t unreservedly back Neuer – apart from Marc-André ter Stegen, who is unreservedly resigned to his eternal fate as a reserve. For Neuer, this is a matter of course. “It’s important for a team to stick together. We have a strong squad with top-class players in all positions. If we start discussions everywhere, it doesn’t help,” he replied and demanded: “We have to do what helps us.”

Due to his skiing accident and the associated break, Neuer lost the captain’s armband to Ilkay Gündogan after the Qatar World Cup, and Julian Nagelsmann also confirmed the replacement of his predecessor Hansi Flick when he took office. “Little has changed for me. I’m still an important part of my game and my coaching,” said the keeper, for whom this home European Championship is his eighth tournament. And his last? “I can’t reveal that yet,” he said, “but I’ll have my thoughts after the tournament. “

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