As we covered recently, young Bayern Munich phenom Paul Wanner accepted a invitation from Austrian national team coach Ralf Rangnick to attend a training camp with the Austrian side during the World Cup break. With Austria not qualifying for the World Cup, this is a chance for the young man to meet Austria’s top guns, spend some time working with the squad and for the Austrian execs to try to convince Wanner to join the program.
While there was reporting of competing recruiting by the two national organizations in the past, it had seemed that Wanner had settled on the German program, seemingly committed to the U15 side in the past. However more recent communications from Austria’s side and Hansi Flick’s decision not to take the young man to Qatar seems to have re-opened the question and Germany’s National Sporting Director for football, Joti Chatzialexiou, does not seem amused.
In a recent interview, Joti suggested that the road to Germany’s team was harder than the road to Austria’s squad and counselled patience for the young dual citizen.
“With all due respect to Austria: of course, the road to becoming a national team player in Germany is a bit more difficult,” he said. “You need patience, especially as a young player.”
He advised that both Flick and the youth trainers for Germany had stayed in touch with him since February but so far that has not managed to produce a clear commitment from the rising young star.
Joti confirmed that they still hoped to land Wanner for the national side in the long term.
“Of course we would like to see Paul continue to wear the Germany shirt,” he said. “In the end, it’s up to him to decide which national team he wants to play for and which path he wants to take.”
Joti also expressed some disapproval for the notion of “association hopping” and suggested that the German side demanded strong identification with the country and the association from every player.
Based on his public interviews, it remains to be seen if Wanner has a strong enough identification with Germany to both satisfy the program executive’s demands and make his choice the German national team for his future — over the land of his birth.