Following the withdrawal of Michael Ballack, who has captained his national team since 2004, Joachim Low faced the task of having to appoint a successor to the injured ex-captain. Reportedly, the armband was expected to go to either Bastian Schweinsteiger, who occupies a similar position on the field to Michael Ballack, and also plays with the drive and determination that Ballack does, or Phillip Lahm, who is essentially Germany’s Douglas Maicon.
During a televised press conference, German head coach Low revealed that the captain of the German national side going into this year’s World Cup would be the ever-reliable Phillip Lahm. Lahm won his first cap for Die Mannschaft aged just 20. He has gone on to make 64 appearances for the national side, and has managed three goals. Lahm has also played a vital role in for his club side, Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.
Rather expectedly, though, the appointmet of Lahm has captain will come with it’s critcs. And none other than the vocal and mostly intimidating Oliver Kahn to start us off. Kahn, who recently retired from football after a career that spanned an unbelievable 23 years, and who made 86 appearances for the German national side, as well as captaining the side between 2001 and 2004, has question Low’s decision to appoint Lahm as captain.
Kahn is quoted as saying,
‘Lahm still has to prove whether he has the leadership qualities for the whole tournament. Philipp is a great footballer, but I don’t know whether he is mature enough for this.’
Lahm will certainly have his critics, but time and again the rampaging full-back seems to get it done for both his club and national sides. Having recently lifted his team to the Champions League final and a domestic double, and having been surrounded by players like Oliver Kahn and Miroslav Klose his entire career, he will surely know what he must do for Germany as their leader in this summer’s World Cup and beyond.