Monday 18 December 2017

Lukas Podolski one of my indispensables, says German boss

LUKAS Podolski's move to Arsenal is making him a more complete player, according to Germany coach Joachim Loew, who named him as one of the very few "indispensables" he has in his squad.

Podolski earned his 100th cap for Germany during Euro 2012, but found himself relegated to the bench for the quarter-final against Greece and came off at half-time of the semi-final defeat to Italy.

With the likes of Andre Schurrle, Mario Gotze and Marco Reus all coming through, it had been speculated that Podolski had only a limited future ahead of him in the national team, but Low has refuted such claims.

According to the coach, Podolski is a player whom he can always rely on, including tonight against Ireland.

"I can only say positive things about him, even when he does not play," said Loew.

"I have always been able to count on him for many years. That makes him indispensable for us.

"Even if he did not always start games, I always rated him very highly."

Playing in the Premier League along with his national team-mate Per Mertesacker is adding another string to his bow, according to Loew.

"I always said it would be a good move for him," said Loew. "I think the progress he is making at Arsenal is very positive.

"He always has such a positive energy about him and is benefiting from his experiences with Arsenal."

That still does not guarantee Podolski a place against the Irish tonight, although the 27-year-old said he has no qualms about his role in the national team.

"Whether I play left, right, up front, or even left full-back as far as I am concerned - the coach can decide," said Podolski, who has already represented his country 103 times.

"Even playing the role of super sub would not dampen my spirits. I accept the challenge of our competition for places.

"We all want to qualify for the World Cup and, if I don't play, then it is not the end of the world."

One thing Podolski can give to the side, be it from the bench or on the field, is the experience his first few months with Arsenal have taught him about what Germany can expect in the Aviva Stadium.

"It is going to be a positive atmosphere - over here, there is always a great atmosphere and fantastic fans," he said. "But we want to go there and take the three points away with us.

"I know I did not do so well personally at Euro 2012, but I want to prove that I am better than that.

"Our aim now is to qualify for the World Cup."

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