German players should look to grab an opportunity to play abroad in order to enrich their game and add to the national team’s strength, winger Julian Draxler said on Monday.
The 24-year-old Paris St Germain player, who started his professional career as a teenager at Schalke 04, joined the French champions in early 2017.
“It is only an advantage if you play abroad,” he told reporters at Germany’s pre-World Cup camp in Eppan, Italy.
“There is a new language, a new environment, a new mentality. You have to overcome big challenges and I can understand (German players) who want to move aboard and I can only advise them to do it.”
No single German player on their 2010 World Cup squad was playing abroad at the time. There were seven Germans from clubs outside the Bundesliga in 2014 and currently nine on their preliminary squad for the tournament in Russia next month.
German players, especially those who were the first to benefit from a newly established youth system in the early 2000s sought their luck abroad, including big names such as Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski, among others.
A string of younger players, including Draxler, Chelsea defender Antonio Ruediger and Manchester City’s Leroy Sane, made the move away from the Bundesliga at an even younger age in recent years.
“Everyone has their experiences playing abroad, you get to learn from different coaches from different countries, different systems and all of these experiences can then be integrated into the national team,” Draxler said.
Germany are sporting a wealth of talent on their preliminary World Cup squad, with 27 players taking part in their training camp in Italy.
Coach Joachim Loew will need to trim that number down to the final 23 by the June 4 deadline.
“I know the competition for a spot is big. In 2014 I was very young and had a tough time at Schalke behind me,” Draxler said. “Now I am more mature, a better player, and can be a big help for the team.”
The Germans are in World Cup Group F with Sweden, South Korea and Mexico.