At just 22 years old, Waldemar Anton is the youngest captain in the Bundesliga. The Hannover 96 defender has also now been given a leadership role in the Germany U21s side coached by Stefan Kuntz, after former U21 teammates Jonathan Tah and Thilo Kehrer were called up to the senior team. Anton will act as vice-captain behind Lukas Klostermann for the friendly against Mexico on Friday in Fürth (18:00 CEST) and for the European qualifier in Ireland next Tuesday (19:00 CEST). In an interview with DFB.de, Waldemar Anton spoke about Hannover’s start to the season, his role in the team and his thoughts ahead of the upcoming two U21s matches.
DFB.de: Waldemar Anton, have you been satisfied with Hannover’s start to the season?
Waldemar Anton: On the whole we can be satisfied. We put in a good performance in Bremen but unfortunately conceded a late goal. We also played well at home on Friday against Dortmund and deserved to take a point out of the match. Having already secured two points and a place in the DFB-Pokal second round, we have a good platform to build on.
DFB.de: You were named club captain by coach André Breitenreiter before the season started. What was your reaction to his decision?
Anton: I was unbelievably proud that the coach has confidence in me. I’m honoured to have been appointed captain at my age and I want repay that faith to the club. All the players are supporting me and we have a great team spirit. I back myself as club captain, a role that helps my personal development. I want to bring this confidence into the U21s.
DFB.de: Coach Stefan Kuntz has given you the role of vice-captain for the upcoming international matches. How do you view your role in the team?
Anton: Of course I’d like to take on more responsibility and lead the team. It’s quite normal for the more experienced players to set the example for the younger members of the squad. I am one of the most experienced in the squad having been a part of the European Championship winning team last year. I want to pass this experience onto the new squad members. We chat a lot about our individual club situations. We are young players in different situations and we can learn so much from each other.
DFB.de: What do you expect from the Mexico match in Fürth?
Anton: We are preparing for this friendly in training. Mexico play with a similar style to Ireland, who we face next week. It will be a difficult task against aggressive opponents who are strong especially in defence.
DFB.de: So the Mexico friendly is part of your preparations for the important European qualifier against Ireland?
Anton: Exactly. The Mexico game will be about getting used to their playing style, giving us match practice and adjusting our playing style accordingly. If we succeed in doing this, I am confident we will earn all three points in Ireland. This would be an important step in qualifying for the European Championship.