Jamal Musiala: Why former Chelsea midfielder might spark England-Germany tug of battle

Jamal Musiala: Why former Chelsea midfielder might spark England-Germany tug of battle

Jamal Musiala
Musiala, proper, turned Bayern Munich’s youngest scorer final month after grabbing a aim within the 8-0 win towards Schalke

He was scrawny and undersized in contrast together with his friends, however you could not miss out on seven-year-old Jamal Musiala.

Enjoying for his native grassroots facet, Metropolis Central, he was unstoppable. He scored at will and, for the opposite seven-year-olds chasing him round one of many half-dozen small grass pitches of the Out of doors Sports activities Centre in Southampton, was inconceivable to sort out.

A lot has modified for Musiala within the years since. For one, he now stands 6ft tall. And final month, the England Below-17 midfielder turned Bayern Munich’s youngest goalscorer.

However the abilities that noticed him enter the historical past books of Germany’s most storied and profitable membership – sauntering in from the left earlier than slotting into the underside nook to finish an 8-0 rout of Schalke – have been all on show 10 years in the past.

“He simply stood out then, for his ball-dribbling abilities and the power he had,” remembers Graham Fortress, the Chelsea scout who noticed Musiala. “The ball caught to his ft the entire time.”

From Stuttgart to Chelsea by way of Southampton

Born in Stuttgart and raised in Fulda, a small metropolis in central Germany, Musiala had solely lived in England a matter of months on the time, having moved over together with his mother and father whereas his mom studied sociology on the College of Southampton. Already, although, Southampton had invited the gifted younger footballer to coach with their under-8s.

“Clearly they preferred him,” Chelsea scout Fortress says of the rival curiosity in Musiala. “However I offered it to him to come back up and take a look at our amenities and our teaching. When he bought there, our teaching was ranges above different locations. All of it fitted into place.

“As a result of it was in direction of the top of that season, our under-8s have been already established. He went straight right into a pleasant recreation with Blackburn Rovers. From that, they took him on. They may see his skill. He was going round gamers for enjoyable.”

Musiala has at all times been developmentally forward of the curve. Earlier than changing into Bayern’s youngest scorer together with his strike towards Schalke, he earned the excellence of being the youngest participant to look within the Bundesliga for the membership when he made his debut towards Freiburg in June, aged simply 17 years and 115 days. And he often “performed up” in larger age teams as he progressed by way of Chelsea’s academy – he was solely 15 years previous when he first performed for the Blues’ U18s.

Jamal Musiala
Musiala, proper, was with Chelsea for eight years from 2011

“When he used to do our technical periods on a Tuesday evening, he was absolute tops,” says Brian Mustill, who coached Musiala in Chelsea’s Below-8s and Below-10s. “He was on the prime finish of the potential vary.”

The teenager’s dribbling abilities and eye for aim instantly commanded consideration, however the Chelsea’s coaches felt it was Musiala’s work ethic that really separated him from the pack.

“When he misplaced the ball, he did all the things in his energy to win it again,” says Mustill. “I keep in mind we performed Spurs away, and I believe he scored six or seven on the day. But it surely was his want to win the ball having misplaced it, his power ranges to win the ball again. He chased the entire size of the pitch to win it again after which go and beat the entire staff once more.”

Between the ages of 11 and 14, Musiala attended Whitgift College in Croydon, which has robust – if unofficial – relationships with Chelsea and Crystal Palace and lists Callum Hudson-Odoi, Victor Moses and Bertrand Traore amongst its well-known soccer alumni.

Andrew Martin, a former Crystal Palace participant who now serves as Whitgift’s director of soccer, first encountered Musiala when the college’s under-11s performed towards the then-Chelsea academy star’s main faculty staff within the semi-finals of a county-wide event. “We’re a robust sports activities faculty however we bought totally thumped,” Martin remembers. “We ended up dropping 10-4. Jamal scored 5 – 6.”

Musiala performed as a striker in Whitgift’s groups and was prodigiously prolific. However, just like the Chelsea coaches, Martin was most struck by the teenager’s dedication and dedication. He factors to at least one recreation specifically as proof – an English Colleges’ FA Below-12s nationwide event quarter-final towards native faculty Coombe Boys, on a crisp and bitter afternoon on the final day of time period earlier than Christmas.

“I believe it ended 5-5 and we misplaced on penalties,” Martin says. “Jamal had scored two or three and he’d scored his penalty. On the finish of the sport, Jamal cried. That confirmed how a lot he cared. It was a college recreation, a nationwide quarter-final, however he was a Chelsea participant – he was destined for glory. That confirmed how a lot each recreation meant to him. Each time he performed, it meant one thing to him and he cared.”

Will or not it’s England or Germany?

Jamal Musiala
Musiala (10) has performed in England’s junior age teams and most not too long ago captained the under-17s

Having obtained British citizenship two years in the past, Musiala’s long-term worldwide allegiance is more likely to spark one thing of a tug-of-war between England and Germany.

He has represented each at youth stage, however, with simply two Below-16s appearances for the nation of his beginning, he has featured far more often for England, even changing into joint-captain – alongside Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham – of the U17s.

“His choice was England, purely as a result of he’d performed on the circuit towards all the opposite academy boys – he’d performed towards Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle and so forth,” says Martin. “So once they met up for England squads, he knew them from enjoying towards them. Whereas going to Germany and never being within the German system, he did not actually really feel a part of that.”

All through his time in England, although, Musiala retained a robust connection to Germany. He speaks flawless English, however he would at all times communicate German at dwelling, and he and his mother and father would journey again to Germany to go to family and friends throughout colleges holidays.

As his standout performances at worldwide tournaments with Chelsea started to generate curiosity from across the continent – with a transfer to Spain as soon as near fruition – the clarion name of his homeland’s largest membership proved too tempting to refuse. In July 2019, Musiala turned down Chelsea’s supply {of professional} phrases and signed a three-year take care of Bayern.

Jamal Musiala
Musiala, left, has additionally performed for Germany at youth stage

Fast rise at Bayern

Musiala was positioned in Bayern’s Below-17 squad initially, however a median of a aim or help each 105 minutes quickly noticed him promoted to the U19s. When the coronavirus pandemic pressured German youth soccer to close down earlier this yr, he was drafted into Bayern’s U23s, impressing sufficiently to be handed his historic first-team debut in June.

Although excited by his speedy progress, no-one at Bayern is getting too carried away.

“The truth that he has now turn out to be the youngest Bundesliga scorer within the historical past of FC Bayern makes us all proud,” says Jochen Sauer, Bayern’s youth campus director. “However we additionally know that he’s removed from the top of his growth.

“There may be nonetheless a protracted solution to go to ascertain himself on the highest stage, however he positively has the footballing stipulations for this.”

Musiala is only one of a number of high-potential kids being developed for the longer term on the Allianz Area. Bayern are eager to not over-extend him too early. They plan for almost all of his soccer this season to be performed within the third tier with the membership’s second string.

The limitless potential Musiala first confirmed on the muddy enjoying fields of Southampton a decade in the past is in secure fingers.

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