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Gundogan named Germany captain against Japan

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Wolfsburg, Germany: Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will captain Germany in Saturday’s friendly with Japan, coach Hansi Flick said on Friday, while also hinting that Joshua Kimmich would revert to right back from midfield. Usual captain Manuel Neuer is still out after breaking his leg so the Barcelona midfielder will fill in. Bayern Munich’s Kimmich had previously deputised and the pair have been nominated as a “leadership duo” by Flick.


“I am thankful for the trust placed in me. It is a huge honour for me to lead the team,” the 32-year-old Gundogan told a news conference ahead of his 68th cap for Germany in Wolfsburg. The player of Turkish heritage won the treble last term with former side Manchester City.


Gundogan being named captain comes five years after he was widely criticised in Germany for being photographed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an incident which ultimately led Mesut Ozil to quit the national side. Germany, at a low ebb after going out of the World Cup in December in the group stage for the second straight edition, are playing friendlies ahead of hosting Euro 2024.


Flick even left the door open for Gundogan or Kimmich to captain the side at the Euros in June and July.


“The situation with Manu is that first of all he has to get fit,”Flick said of Neuer. — dpa


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