Germany legend Lothar Matthaus remains baffled that England allowed Jamal Musiala to switch allegiances and has jokingly thanked the Three Lions.
The teenage sensation has become a mainstay in the Bayern Munich first team and already had 15 caps for Germany, representing them at Euro 2020. Previously though he’d spent nine years in English academies, eight of which were at Chelsea before he was snapped up by the Bundesliga champions.
Musiala played for England’s age grades, all the way up until the U21s, before pledging himself to Germany, which Matthaus insists is a big mistake – comparing the 19-year-old to Lionel Messi.
He told the Daily Mail: “You gave the best player from the young English generation to Germany — Musiala. I have a son who is eight years old. I have to buy the Bayern Munich shirts with No.42 on the back and the Germany shirt with No 14. My son is crazy about Musiala. So, thank you England for giving him to us!
“I do not know why you did not fight more to keep this player in the English shirt. We are so happy to have him.
“When he is on the field, this is like Messi three years ago. He has everything. Fast, good dribbling, the last pass, he can score.
“He gets the ball and always goes forward — like me, against Yugoslavia. He is also learning to work better for the defence. He is becoming the complete player.
“In the future, he will be one of the very best players in the world.”
Southgate, who has also seen a number of others decide to represent other nations, such as Wilfried Zaha and Michail Antonio, admitted earlier this year that he wanted to retain Musiala’s services. However he cited the influence of Bayern and their players as a pivotal factor in the teenager’s international decision.
The England boss said: “We’d have liked him to stay [with England] for certain, but when you’re training at Bayern Munich every day and you’re surrounded by Bayern Munich and German players, then that’s a little bit more challenging and of course his family have those strong ties.”
Musiala is primed to play a key role for Germany at this winter’s World Cup having already claimed a host of honours a club level, including the Champions League in 2020, and also becoming the club’s youngest ever goalscorer.