After an impressive season in the Bundesliga, Toni Kroos is looking to make his mark on the international scene
Following in the footsteps of Stuttgart No10 Hansi Muller in 1978, Bayern Munich centre-back Norbert Eder in 1986 and Dortmund winger David Odonkor four years ago, Bayer Leverkusen’s highly-rated midfield starlet looks an exceedingly good bet to be the latest German footballer to force his way into the Nationalmannschaft reckoning on the eve of a World Cup finals.
Kroos, who made his debut in March as a substitute in the friendly defeat by Argentina in Munich, certainly deserved his elevation to the full-international arena.
Loaned out this season by Bayern Munich to Leverkusen, the left-sided or central playmaker has few equals when it comes to creativity, and if his club have taken root in the upper echelons of this season’s Bundesliga, it is in no small part thanks to the precision of his passing, shooting and expertise at set-pieces.
“We’d been talking about him for a couple of years before giving him a chance with the full squad,” declared Germany coach Joachim Low recently. “There was never any doubt that here was a youngster of enormous talent. He was not playing so often for Bayern, so the move to Leverkusen really was the right way for him to go.
“It goes without saying that he’s only at the start of his development and that he can achieve much, much more.”
Only just turned 20, Kroos should not simply go to South Africa as part of a “watch, listen and learn” exercise. Germany do not exactly have a surfeit of guile and finesse in their ranks, and with attacking-third starters such as Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski struggling for top form of late, he could be a most credible alternative.
“It wouldn’t be normal if I didn’t want to go to a World Cup,” says Kroos, who theoretically is supposed to be returning to Bayern this summer, though there are rumours that he would not say no to extending his time at Leverkusen by another year.
Voted best player at the Under-17 World Championship of 2007, has more than one new frontier to cross.