Beckenbauer warns about youth vs experience
17 November 2004
MUNICH – Former German football great Franz Beckenbauer has warned national team coach Juergen Klinsmann against fielding too many young players at the expense of experience.
Beckenbauer told Sports Bild magazine Wednesday the 2006 World Cup in Germany would not be “a youth world championship” and it was important to get “the right mix” of players.
Klinsmann was considering fielding the youngest defence in the country’s international history for Wednesday’s friendly against Cameroon in Leipzig.
Moritz Volz, 21, Robert Huth, 20, Per Mertesacker, 20, Thomas Hitzlsperger, 22, and Andreas Goerlitz, 22, have all come into German international squads since Klinsmann took over in summer.
Others including Andreas Hinkel, 22, Philipp Lahm, 21, and Bastian Schweinsteiger, 20, who had already made international appearances, are also in the frame.
Beckenbauer said the average age of the international team should be between 25 and 30.
“You have young players like Lahm at the European Championships who can cope with the pressure. Playing at a World Cup though is different than playing a normal game.
“Although it is taking place in Germany you have to prepare for a two-month journey. If you don’t have the experience you will have difficulties.”
Beckenbauer has also made it clear Bayern Munich’s Oliver Kahn should be Klinsmann’s first-choice goalkeeper rather than Arsenal’s Jens Lehmann.
Interviewed by former tennis star Boris Becker on the German television sports channel DSF Tuesday evening, Beckenbauer said Lehmann was to blame for the fractious goalkeeper debate.
“The discussion is only continuing because Jens Lehmann can’t keep his mouth shut and repeatedly tries to stick the needle in from London,” he said.
Beckenbauer, head of the World Cup organizing committee, also said he could not rule out succeeding Lennart Johansson as president of football’s European governing body UEFA in 2006.
“I cannot rule it out, but at the moment all that counts for me is the 2006 World Cup in Germany,” he said.
Subject: German news