As Jamal Musiala delivered a memorable Champions League performance against Lazio on Tuesday, fans of both the German and England national teams had to be excited at the prospects of what the teenager could bring to their respective national teams.
Unfortunately for England, Musiala’s standout showing wound up being a precursor to his final decision on his international future, and that future will be with Germany.
“I’ve thought about this question a lot,” Musiala told The Athletic in an interview announcing his decision to represent Germany. “‘What is best for my future?’ ‘Where do I have more chances to play?’ In the end, I just listened to the feeling that over a long period of time kept telling me that it was the right decision to play for Germany, the land I was born in. Still, it wasn’t an easy decision for me.”
Born to a German mother and British-Nigerian father, Musiala has played for England and Germany across all youth levels. The 17-year-old was most recently called up to England’s U-21 side for their European Championship qualifiers and impressed, scoring a goal in just his second game.
Musiala was initially born in Stuttgart but moved to England with his mother, where he spent most of his childhood. His footballing talent was clear from a very young age and was quickly snapped up by Chelsea. Musiala spent eight years with the English giants, before swapping London for Munich in 2019 at the age of 16.
Musiala only needed 10 appearances to make an impact with Bayern Munich’s youth side and was promptly fast-tracked to the first team by Hansi Flick. A dynamic attacking midfielder by nature, Musiala slots in seamlessly in Bayern’s fluid 4-2-3-1, offering the veteran Thomas Muller some much-needed rest.
The 17-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down in his first full season with the first team and most recently stepped up admirably in Muller’s absence. Flick rewarded Musiala with a start in Bayern Munich’s knockout clash against Lazio on Tuesday, and he did not disappoint. The Stuttgart native pulled all the right strings against the Serie A side and was a constant threat between the lines.
Musiala capped off his impressive performance with a well-taken goal, maintaining his cool to slot home expertly from outside the box. The attacking midfielder may be young — he turns 18 on Friday — but if his display against Lazio was anything to go by, Musiala can compete at the highest level for many years to come. In just Musiala’s second full start in Europe’s elite competition, Lazio simply did not have an answer for him.
Musiala’s decision to represent Germany over England will be music to Löw’s ears, fresh off his dominant Champions League performance. The Bayern man has regularly demonstrated he is ready for a bigger role in Bavaria, finding the back of the net in his first start this season. In doing so, Musiala became Bayern Munich’s youngest-ever goalscorer.
Musiala has largely featured off the bench, but as Bayern Munich looks to repeat last season’s historic trophy haul, the reigning champions will need all hands on deck. The attacking midfielder offers a youthful alternative to Muller behind the strikers, without sacrificing creativity.
The veteran midfielder can help Musiala take his game to another level as he enters a crucial stage in his development. Muller has once again reinvented himself under Flick, picking up from where he left off last season with 10 goals and 10 assists already. Musiala could not have asked for a better role model as he looks to become a regular for both club and country.
Musiala’s decision to represent Germany comes at a time where the 17-year-old is just starting to break through at the highest level. The Bayern man has all the tools to emerge as Germany’s next great midfielder and finds himself in an ideal environment to hone his skills and deliver on his incredible promise. If conquering all trophies 2020 had to offer was not enough for Bayern Munich, the reigning champions just discovered yet another gem in their pipeline - and Musiala has proven he is ready.