Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


The German defender

David ClarkeZinedine Zidane was asked which player caught his eye at Euro 2012. Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Andrea Pirlo? Mesut Ozil? Iniesta? Ronaldo? No. The player he picked him out above any more offensive options was German centre back Mats Hummels.

“To me he is the only player to make a difference,” Zidane said.

It is rare that central defenders get the kind of plaudits like the one dished out by Zidane. But Hummels isn’t a typical defender, having been given the liberty to venture forward by coach Joachim Loew, an opportunity he has eagerly snapped up – but that hasn’t made him forget his responsibilities to the team.

“It is nice to go forwards and to be recognised for that, but I am prepared to be a wall if I need to be,” says Hummels.

Hummels was part of the class of 2009 in Germany that won the Under-21 European Championship in Sweden in rampaging style. The team included Manuel Neuer, Jérôme Boateng, Sami Khedira and Ozil all in today’s national team.

“It’s good that we have grown up together,” says Hummels. “You know how they are on the field and off it. It feels more like a family.”

He has many admirers in Europe but is happy at his club Borussia Dortmund. “It’s a special feeling at Dortmund. We have the freedom to do whatever we want. I can be creative and that’s how I love to play. It’s a status I have worked long and hard for and I did not want to give it up,” Hummels said.

But it won’t be long before the big guns in England and Spain realise he could be the key to winning the Champions League.

Watch his passing, attacking and defending skills below, he’s a young man with a great future:

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