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Starlet Thomas crowns debut with goal

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Starlet Thomas crowns debut with goal

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:45 pm

On Wednesday morning, Thomas Müller trained as normal with the Bayern reserves. Wet snow and a bitter chill made conditions uncomfortable, but Müller declared himself "delighted. I need normality to help me come down from the Champions League atmosphere." Not 12 hours earlier, the 19-year-old Bavarian native made his maiden appearance in Europe's elite club competition.

"It was a real thrill," he told Müller came on for the last 20 minutes against Sporting Lisbon and immediately displayed his class. Accelerating past a first defender, he shimmied to the left, beat a second opponent and crossed for Miroslav Klose to knock the ball down into Mark van Bommel's path. The skipper duly netted his side's fifth goal of the night.

"I thought that, as I had the chance, I ought to make the most of it," Müller calmly reflected. "One-on-ones are a strength of mine." The crowning glory came in the last minute when he tapped in the final goal of the evening. "It wasn't difficult. I was standing there and the ball came to me. Anyone could have put it in," he insisted.

"These young lads amaze me," Uli Hoeneß mused, "they come on and play as if it's what they've always been doing. It's fabulous, these young guys have real confidence." The debutant also earned a post-match kiss and cuddle from girlfriend Lisa. "It's our ritual after every match," revealed Müller, "Lisa was delighted and very proud of me."

Still could do better

Reserve coach Hermann Gerland was proud too. "Our aim in the junior team [youth section] is to develop players who can help the senior team," the veteran coach explained. Müller has emerged as a vital component in Gerland's third division side, leading the way with nine goals so far, and earning himself a professional contract at FCB in February.

"He's exceptionally talented," said Gerland, "he scores goals, he has two feet, he can dribble, he's OK in the air, and he has stamina." However, the coach continued, "he has plenty of room to improve and mustn't ease up now. There's always a danger the young lads start thinking they've made it. That's not the case here. Once they make the senior team, they have to redouble their efforts."

Long-term vision

Head coach Jürgen Klinsmann recognised Müller's potential shortly after arriving at Bayern last summer, and has frequently invited the 19-year-old to train with the first team. Müller even made a ten-minute appearance in the Bundesliga last August. "We know he's talented. We're going to keep bringing him on gradually," Klinsmann remarked.

"It's going really well," commented Müller on his first season out of youth football. "My main quality in recent years was goalscoring, and I've kept it up in the third division." However, the starlet knows this is just a start. "I'll keep trying to give it my best shot. I want to perform in the third division and continue developing." However, Müller will certainly not object to a break from the reserve routine from time to time.
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