Wonderkid Jamal Musiala has been told he can become the next big star off the England U21 production line – after the FA won a victory over Germany.
German officials say England have prevailed in a tug of war to convince the Bayern Munich teenager his future lies with the Three Lions.
Musiala is part of Aidy Boothroyd’s squad to face Andorra on Friday night after being rapidly promoted from the U17s, where he was co-captain with Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham.
Musiala was born in Stuttgart, and moved to England aged seven, attended Southampton U8s, and ended up at Chelsea’s academy.
In July last year he turned down a pro contract at Stamford Bridge and signed for Bayern Munich for three years.
The move paid off when he set a club age record scoring against Schalke and became Munich’s youngest ever Bundesliga player aged 17 years and 115 days. He will mainly play for the second string this season in the German third tier.
German head of youth coaching Maikel Schonwitz said on Thursday: “We dealt with convincing Jamal as he has a past with (German youth teams).
“We showed him a clear perspective. But he communicated very straight that he sees his future in the English national teams at the moment.
“We accept that and wish him the best.”
Boothroyd has continued Musiala’s rapid rise offering the chance to play in the Euro finals in March. He said: “He is a very talented player, excellent feet, left or right and tactically he has impressed how quickly he takes things on.
“Watching him up close he is physically not finished growing, but technically and tactically he has impressed us. We had a game the other day and senior U21 players eyed him up and there were very favourable comments.
“It is not a surprise. Bayern tested him and he scored. He is playing with some of the best in the world. So are lots of our players.
“We have a lot of players with dual nationality. Are they enjoy coming to England? Are they learning? Is it progressing their careers? The answer to all three is yes.
“Our pathway to the seniors is a proven one and there won’t be many as good. They will have to make tough calls along the way and so will we.
“The opportunities are there and there is no better time to be an England player.”
The U21 squad held a team meeting to discuss the comments which caused FA chairman Greg Clarke to resign this week.
It was led by BAME England U21 coach Michael Johnson, and Boothroyd explained: “He addressed the elephant in the room. He gave the message if there is terminology you don’t know about, ask Michael.
“He was brilliant in the way he spoke. It was about calling things out, being aware of the language we are using. And to recognise the work being done in the FA.”