Thomas Müller certainly looked good in the new Germany kit. The youngster, who was officially part of the senior national squad for the first time at a get-together in Stuttgart earlier this week, posed for promotional shoots and completed a programme of fitness tests, clad in his country’s latest kit design. “I really enjoyed being there. It was all very positive,” he said on Wednesday after returning to Munich.
Little more than six months ago, the 20-year-old was virtually unknown outside the circle of truly die-hard Bayern fans, but Müller is approaching household name status now, at least in the German footballing family. In his very first season with the seniors, he has claimed a regular berth in Louis van Gaal’s team – and he is second only to 12-goal Mario Gomez in the club scoring chart, as he has 10 in all competitions, six of them in the Bundesliga. Müller coolly converted the first of his side’s three goals in Bremen at the weekend.
Debut can wait
His call-up to the national squad was not really a surprise, “although it’s a real honour, especially as I’m still so young,” he remarked. “I’m proud because it’s a special form of recognition.” However, Müller is not exaggerating the significance of the gathering. “It wasn’t very interesting in sporting terms, and neither was it such an eye-opening training course that I’d say I’m on course to win the World Cup.”
Talking of which, Müller’s explosive form since making the big time with Bayern this term has naturally prompted an excited debate as to whether Germany boss Joachim Löw might pick him for the summer showdown in South Africa. The youngster was originally scheduled to make his senior international debut last autumn, but the fixture in question was cancelled in the wake of Robert Enke’s tragic death.
Van Gaal’s faith in Müller
The postponed first cap was of little consequence to the player himself. “It was blown up out of all proportion by the media. I’m focusing on my football, and we’ll see what happens with everything else.” However, Thomas knows he has a decent chance of making it to the World Cup. “I’m flexible and can fill a number of attacking roles,” he pointed out. For FCB, he has operated on both flanks, but has also played in the hole and as a central striker, wherever his coach has needed him most.
Van Gaal it was who plucked Müller from the reserves and assisted him in settling to life as a full-time pro. The Bavarian native has only failed to feature in one competitive fixture this term, the Champions League return against Bordeaux, and that was due to suspension. “Müller plays, even when Robben and Ribéry are fit,” Van Gaal declared a short time ago.
Vacation with cancellation option
Robben and Ribéry are now both match fit for the first time in four months. “Franck is vital to the team. He moves us on as a group,” said Müller, “but I’m hopeful of running out alongside Arjen and Franck.” Thomas reckons he has played best when both superstars have been in the same team: “And in any case, why should I be concerned? It’s my first season with the seniors. It's not the end of the world if I spend a couple of games on the bench.”
Müller is now keen to continue laying down his credentials at Bayern, and possibly also for Germany. The solitary international fixture before the naming of the World Cup squad takes place on 3 March, when the Germans face Argentina in Munich. “But I’d happily travel to Hamburg for it,” Müller replied to a question as to whether the Allianz Arena would be the perfect place for his debut. Looking ahead, he already has plans for this coming June. “I’m about to book a holiday,” he revealed, before adding with a grin: “But I’ll take out trip cancellation insurance.”