Very young and very talented, with a big future ahead of them. Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala received their first call-ups for the senior national team as Germany head into qualifiers for the World Cup in 2022. They sat down with DFB.de to discuss the additional workload of international football, new surroundings, and how they are helping each other to adapt ahead of Thursday's match against Iceland in Duisburg (20:45 CET).
DFB.de: Florian, managing the workload when it comes to football during the ongoing pandemic has become a frequent topic of discussion these days, but you have an additional kind of workload at the moment as well – your Abitur (A levels). You even have a teacher here with the team during international matches! How do you go about managing this workload?
Florian Wirtz: I have to admit that it is exhausting managing both at the same time. I know that I have to approach my studies and football with the same amount of energy, even though football comes a bit more naturally to me. But I realise that I don’t have much time left in my studies and I cannot give up so close to the end.
DFB.de: Jamal, you have worn an England shirt a lot more often than you have worn a Germany one during your youth career! Now you are playing for the Germany team for the first time. How does that feel?
Jamal Musiala: It’s something completely new for me. I played for England’s youth teams from a young age, and I have a lot of experiences and good memories from my time there. I had a really good time with England, but now I’m looking forward to my future with Germany. I thought long and hard about my decision and only chose Germany after a lot of careful consideration. Now I’m only looking forwards and I want to give it everything I’ve got and have fun along the way.
DFB.de: You’ve moved around a lot in your life, so where do you consider to be your home?
Musiala: I would say my home is wherever my family is and where I feel most comfortable. So I can’t limit my home to one place.
DFB.de: How did your family, some of whom live in England, feel about your decision to opt for Germany?
Musiala: They have all fully accepted my decision. They wouldn’t have tried to convince me one way or the other anyway, because they knew it was a question that I had to answer myself.
DFB.de: One of the reasons you chose Germany was because Joachim Löw and Oliver Bierhoff were not just interested in Jamal Musiala as a player, but also in Jamal Musiala as a person. Why is that so important to you?
Musiala: They already knew all about me when we first met. They went to a lot of trouble to find out what I’m like a person, which really strengthened my trust in them. It means a lot to me in general that I’m not just seen as a player, but also as a person with values.
DFB.de: Florian, Jamal has just told us of his experience with joining the national team. Were you also received just as warmly?
Wirtz: I was very well received by the boys here. A lot of them were very happy for me that I’d been called up at my age. It was a very special feeling to get to know all of these players. It all still seems a bit unreal to me, but I still feel very comfortable here.
DFB.de: You knew a few players already, right?
Wirtz: One or two, but not many more than that.
DFB.de: Does being called up together take some of the pressure off you as individuals?
Wirtz: It’s nice to have someone here who is as young as I am, who I have stuff in common with and who I can hang out with. Of course we’re in the focus a bit, but we’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves to show something extra special. We’re both just enjoying being here and looking forward to playing with such great players.
Musiala: It’s really cool that Florian is also here. I’m glad I’m not the only youngster here as we’re able to share the pressure between us a bit. It’s a good experience for both of us. We have a lot to talk about because we’re both new here and we’re looking out for each other.