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Training and toil on Toni's special day

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Training and toil on Toni's special day

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:00 pm

Toni Kroos is 22 today, but there was no chorus of Happy Birthday, neither was he excused training. He did receive heartfelt best wishes from all his team-mates, but a training camp is hardly the ideal place to observe a birthday, as the focus is on work rather than play. However, the player has no issue with the situation, as he revealed to "I'm accustomed to it and I can live with it."

As it happened, Kroos was spared a punishing training session on his special day last year, as injury prevented him joining the squad in Qatar. "I deliberately picked up a knock so I could stay at home and celebrate," the Germany international quipped. There is one big advantage this year: compared to the freezing cold in Munich, Toni spent his anniversary in Doha in summer clothes with the temperature a little over 20 degrees Celsius.

Whatever, the midfielder's birthday is something of a fringe event during FCB's week in the desert. The focus is fully and firmly on laying the foundations for the second half of the season, in which the player and his fellow stars are aiming high. "I'm looking to carry on where I left off before the mid-season break," he said. Toni has set the bar high with a consistently excellent first half of the campaign, featuring crucial goals in the Champions League and DFB Cup, appearances in 16 of Bayern's 17 Bundesliga fixtures, and elevation to regular status for Germany.

"I've had a very good year. I've taken a huge step forward in terms of performance," the newly 22-year-old declared. However, in the same breath, he freely admitted the difficulty of maintaining his standard of excellence. "I won't be resting on my laurels, I can promise you that," he insisted.

Much-praised Toni

The former FCB youth has made a strong impression in this week's workouts so far, drawing words of praise from boss Jupp Heynckes. "He has an unbelievably quick mind, a vision of how the game should be played, and he keeps the pace high. It's fantastic," the coach enthused, "he's come on incredibly well."

There has never been any doubt about Kroos' technical skill as a footballer, but he has undoubtedly developed as a personality. "Mentally, he's become very robust and confident. Anyone with ideas of playing among the elite has to believe in himself nowadays," Heynckes remarked. In fact, the coach himself has made a significant contribution to the player's recent progress.

Working on the physical side

"Mr Heynckes believes in me, and I need that," Kroos reported. The boss has continually reminded the midfielder of the need to up the physical side of his game. "He wanted me to become much more robust, and I've felt more confident of that with every game," Kroos said. Toni's response to the boss's instructions has been positive and productive, and he has duly advanced up the hierarchy for club and country. For all that, Kroos himself knows there are no guarantees: "At the end of the day, I have to deliver out on the field."
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