Wunderkids: Building football’s most exciting young XI – week nine: Jamal Musiala, midfielder

It’s the stuff of managerial dreams – a blank check to build the most exciting young starting XI in world football.

The Wunderkids team, in conjunction with BBC Sport, have proposed 11 players and presenter Steve Crossman will be joined by experts to discuss the latest inclusion, with a new player revealed every week.

The criteria are simple – each player must be young and have the potential to become the next superstar in their position.

But we’re not going to the obvious names – like Kylian Mbappe, Erling Braut Haaland or Jadon Sancho – we’re looking at the players who are still on the verge of making the big breakthrough.

In this week’s episode, we select a player who has already sparked a showdown between England and Germany to represent their respective national teams: Bayern Munich midfielder Jamal Musiala.

Who is he?

Jamal Musiala scored his first international goal for Germany in a World Cup qualifier against North Macedonia in October 2021
Jamal Musiala scored his first goal for Germany in a World Cup qualifier against North Macedonia in October 2021

Few players in our roster have a senior international tournament under their belt, but Musiala’s CV showcases just that after being picked for Germany’s Euro 2020 squad last summer.

The 19-year-old was a surprise call-up, having amassed just three caps ahead of the final, but he made two substitute appearances – in the group stage against Hungary and in the round of 16 loss to Turkey. England.

Born in Stuttgart to a Nigerian father and German mother, Musiala has represented England and Germany at youth level.

He chose to represent his native Germany rather than the Three Lions, despite spending much of his childhood in London and impressing at the academies of Southampton and Chelsea.

Musiala left Chelsea for Bayern in 2019, aged 16, and scored 13 goals in 72 appearances, breaking the Bundesliga giants’ records for the league’s youngest player and youngest goalscorer.

What does the expert say?

Bavarian football journalist Taufig Khalil:

“When he was five he was as good as a seven-year-old and when he was nine he was as good as a 13-year-old.

“Southampton saw him and brought him in for a year. He scored a lot and Chelsea scouts saw him. He scored two or three goals in his first game for them. That’s what when everyone knew he was really good.

“He’s always very down to earth. When he was allowed to choose a car – all the players have cars and there were Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Bentleys – he chose a small car from sponsor Bayern Munich.

“Jamal is one of those rare youngsters who does not risk, after a successful first season, renting a helicopter like other young Bayern players have done. He has kept his feet on the ground.

“He’s very flexible – he can play in Thomas Muller’s position right behind Robert Lewandowski, he can play next to Joshua Kimmich. He’s very mature for his young age.”

What does the fan say?

Kiran Thakare, Bayern Strikes Podcast:

“Jamal has generated a lot of hype since joining Bayern Munich from Chelsea. He was introduced to the first team at the age of 18 and since then he hasn’t looked back.

“His tight control sets him apart from other young talents and his decision making is also top notch for a player who is still a teenager.

“He reminds me of Bastian Schweinsteiger – even though they played in different positions, they both have immense quality on the ball as well as tenacity off the ball.

“Musiala’s finest moment in a Bayern shirt came off the bench against RB Leipzig earlier this season when he scored a crucial goal after half-time and he also managed to score another goal. That was an influential appearance in a big game.”

The Wunderkids team.

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