‘Too old’ Podolski confident of Euro berth
Lukas Podolski is confident of making the Germany squad for Euro 2016 despite being told, along with captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, that he’s too old to make an impact in France.
Germany coach Joachim Loew is set to announce his provisional Euro 2016 squad next Tuesday.
In his 10 years in charge, Loew has always found places for the 30-year-old Podokski, who has made 127 international appearances and scored 48 goals, plus captain Schweinsteiger, 31, who has 114 caps.
The 2014 World Cup winners have been key figures for Germany at major tournaments over the last decade.
But Manchester United’s Schweinsteiger is currently recovering from a knee injury and Galatasaray’s Podolski has not been first choice for his country in recent years.
“The head coach knows what he has and doesn’t have in me,” Podolski told the Cologne Express newspaper.
“I have been to six tournaments (three European Championships and three World Cups) and have always played. Of course I can still help the team.”
But ex-midfielder Mario Basler, who was part of the Germany squad which won Euro ’96, believes both Podolski and Schweinsteiger should be left behind.
Basler says that after an injury-hit first season with United, Schweinsteiger is too prone to further knocks and Germany have better, younger players than Podolski, who has scored 14 goals for Galatasaray this season in Turkey.
“I wouldn’t take Bastian Schweinsteiger. He’s not 25 or 28 years old any more,” Basler, 47, told local newspaper the Rheinischen Post.
“He’s had several injuries this season and there is a risk he’ll be injured again.
“I think we have younger and better players in attacking positions,’ Basler added.
“If (Wolfsburg’s) Julian Draxler gets the green light from the doctors, for instance, it will be difficult for Lukas to go to France.”
Podolski says that he will not retire if he is not selected for the European Championship.
“It would be a disappointment, but not a reason to retire,” said Podolski.
“I still have a lot of fun playing football, I have been in the German team for 12 years and have always felt good there.”