September 23, 2019
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Germany's goalkeeper choice frustrates Ter Stegen

By Rodrigo Zuleta

Berlin, Sep 10 (efe-epa).- Marc Andre ter Stegen's role in Germany national team is complex, because in any other team the Barcelona keeper would be a no-brainer, but perhaps not when Manuel Neuer is still bidding for the position.

The discussion first came up after the 2018 FIFA World Cup it was discussed retrospectively.

At that time, some questioned the decision of coach Joachim Low to rely on Neuer, despite the fact the goalie had been on the sidelines most of the season with injury, suggesting it sent the wrong message to the rest of the squad that experience was worth more than performance.

Low did eventually rejuvenate his team, leaving out veteran players like Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, and Thomas Muller but Neuer remains.

In fact, Neuer, the squad's captain, is considered one of the guarantors of stability and someone who can guide young teammates given his experience.

His role in the team was not even put into question following Germany's 4-2 defeat to Netherlands in the Euro 2020 qualification on Friday, as he was not the one to blame for any of the four goals he conceded.

Normally, changing the first-choice goalie takes place after a streak of serious errors or if the coaching staff decides they want a different type of keeper; however, neither situation applies to the case of Neuer right now.

In Germany's 2-0 win over Northern Ireland on Monday would not have been possible without Neuer, who stopped Germany from conceding in the first eight minutes.

"Neuer's crisis of 2018 is a thing of the past," Der Spiegel said on its website, analyzing goalkeeper's performance against Northern Ireland.

The magazine also said that against Netherlands, Neuer was the best player on the pitch, despite conceding four goals.

At the moment, Ter Stegen's only advantage over 33-year-old Neuer is age, being six years younger, which suggests that at some point Barcelona's goalie will be his national team's first-choice, if Ter Stegen maintains his level of play.

In the end, it is about being patient and keeping good relations with the coaching staff, as well as avoiding an unnecessary debate that nobody wants to open right now.

And that was what Ter Stegen publicly expressed recently, despite confessing that the situation is hurting him.

"Obviously, it drives me a bit mad. You give the best of yourself and you aren't where you want to be," Ter Stegen told news digital platform T-Online.

"I have established my priorities. I want to be successful and the big objective I have is to be the first choice keeper for my country. But not at any price," he added.

"It's not easy at all, but patience is part of being a footballer. There are times when you have to wait." EFE-EPA


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