During the past international break, the U.S. National Team and their fans finally got to see highly rated Christian Pulisic don the red, white and blue. Ever since his debut for Borussia Dortmund at the end of January, the 17 year-old Pennsylvania native has garnered a lot of attention from U.S. fans as the see Pulisic as the next U.S. men’s national team star. And while Pulisic is deserving of all of the attention he’s gotten, this isn’t the first time that American fans have had hopes and dreams over a wunderkind.
The other wunderkind i’m referring to is Julian Green, the German-American who was born in Tampa, grew up since age two with his mother in Germany, and played for both Germany and U.S.youth squads before opting for the U.S. and making the USMNT 2014 World Cup squad. And even though his development has stalled, Green can still become a star. But he does need to leave Bayern like former teammates Mitchell Weiser and Emre Can among others who have had success since leaving the ultra-talented Bavarian side.
Other Talented Players in a Similar Situation
For a young player like Green, leaving a big club like Bayern instead of waiting for your chance can be seen as a risky move, but most of the time, the young player is better off leaving. In my previous piece about Hamburg, a couple of those players were in a similar situation. Alex Meier and Sidney Sam were youngsters who didn’t get a chance, left for a smaller club and then became golden boot winners and German internationals. Meier has over 100 career goals since leaving Hamburg for St. Pauli and Sam became a top player at Leverkusen after leaving HSV. But if you want a player who resembles Green even more, look no further than Dortmund captain and German stalwart Mats Hummels.
The World Cup winner started his career with Bayern, and after he found himself on the bench a lot, he decided to leave for Dortmund, who weren’t what they are now back then. Of course, Hummels made a great decision and has turned himself into a star, and with Green’s talent, there is no reason why he can’t do the same.
Another player whose past is similar to Hummels is Daniel Ginczek, who never got a chance at Dortmund while he featured for the second team. He then impressed while he was on loan to St. Pauli, and now at only 24 he’s become a stalwart for VFB Stuttgart before suffering season-ending injury. Ginczek, Hummels, Meier and Sam are all good examples to follow from the recent past, and Green could become as good as those stars if he gets a chance.
The one characteristic that all of them had was talent, that’s what has allowed them to have success. And with the way that Green’s teammates have praised him in the past, he certainly has the ability to be a Bundesliga player. Talent. Arjen Robben said that Green has “great potential” and “he’s a great talent”, and Joachim Löw said he was a “scary big talent”. When figures like Robben and Löw praise a youngster, that means that they are talented. After all, stars like these don’t shout praise at many top prospects, much less one who isn’t even German (or Dutch).
The endorsements that he’s gotten already in his young career show that he still has a very bright future. With all of Green’s ability, with a satisfactory amount of playing time (unlike he got during his 2014/2015 loan to HSV), Green would thrive just like talented young players like Hummels, Meier and Sam did. But he will only get that time if he leaves Bayern for another club, in the Bundesliga or another league. With Bayern’s quality, history has shown that Green won’t get a chance without leaving the club first. Despite rumors of a loan deal at the beginning of this season, Green insisted that he wanted to stay at Bayern and compete for a spot on the first squad roster.
Another trait that all of those players have is character and work ethic. Based on Green’s social media posts and his ability to stay out of trouble, he clearly has the character of a star. One of his recent tweets was “work hard, stay humble” back on March 17th, and on March 7th he tweeted #neverstop with a picture of him dribbling. Even though these are mere tweets, they show that Green is a hard worker who wants to be successful. Having the drive to be great is something that’s rare and most star players possess that type of work ethic. That’s why not every top prospect turns into something great, only the players who put in the effort have success.
Other Recent Bayern Youngsters Finding Success
Leaving Bayern has helped revitalize the careers of other young players in recent seasons. The main two are Hertha stand out Weiser, and Liverpool’s Can. Both of these players didn’t receive much playing time at Bayern, but Weiser and Can had shown talent at their previous clubs. Weiser was from the very successful Köln academy, and Can had come from the Eintracht Frankfurt youth system. When they first came to Bavaria, they were seen as big talents for the future. But now that Bayern have become less reliant on young talent, Can and Weiser were deemed surplus to requirements.
But despite the obvious talent, Bayern didn’t give them a chance to shine, which is in large part due to the pressure on manager Pep Guardiola for immediate results. The situation that Can and Weiser were in back then resembles Green’s current situation. And since they both get playing time, they’ve become very solid players for their new clubs. Weiser has been a key cog in the stout Hertha defense, along with showing some offensive flair, which has led them to third in the table thus far. And Can has become a key player for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, and his versatility and quality have made him a German international. After what these Bayern “castoffs” have done since they left, Green should still be seen as a player with a lot of potential for success, if he leaves Bayern like his peers.
The success of these two so quickly after they left Bayern is encouraging for Green, and there is a clear plan for Green if he leaves. It all depends on his talent and quality, but after the moments that he’s had scoring for the US in the World Cup and in the Bayernliga with his 10 goals and 4 assists with Bayern II in the fourth division, along with the praise he’s gotten, there is reason to believe that the 20 year-old can revitalize his career. But if Green waits and waits, and finds himself as a 23-year-old who has hardly played above the Regionalliga level, then it would be tough to envision a shining future for Green. After all, Green is doing well with the Bayern reserves, but he’s playing against the likes of Wacker Burghausen and TSV Buchbach instead of Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen. Bayern players like Patrick Weihrauch, who have stayed with Bayern for far too long, look to be doomed for 2. Bundesliga or 3.Liga careers.
If Green wants to do what is truly best for his future, he would leave Bayern like Weiser, Can and Hummels did, and go to a smaller club like Meier, Ginczek and Sam, perhaps a smaller club close to home in Bavaria such as Bundesliga 2 side SpVgg Greuther Furth or even a 3. Liga side not too far away such as 1.FC Heidenheim or VfR Aalen, just west in Baden-Wurtenburg. Playing for clubs of this nature would be a step forward for Green,m who has nothing left to prove in Regionalliga play but who also hasn’t proven himself in the first division. With his character and work ethic, combined with immense talent, he’ll succeed if he’s given a chance and gain confidence borne of success against better competition. But that chance won’t come with Bayern in the near future. And until that happens, Pulisic will be the one that all U.S. fans talk about.
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