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Right time, right place for City boss and his German stars

Christoph Zimmermann followed Daniel Farke from Borussia Dortmund to play a leading role in Norwich City's Championship promotion push 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Christoph Zimmermann followed Daniel Farke from Borussia Dortmund to play a leading role in Norwich City's Championship promotion push Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke and a rump of his promotion-chasing squad are proudly flying the flag for German football.

City’s fanbase have adapted a Blur song to hail the influence of Farke, his key coaching team and the likes of captain Christoph Zimmermann, along with a number of other successful imports like Marco Stiepermann, Tom Trybull and Moritz Leitner. While Teemu Pukki and Onel Hernandez both spent parts of their early careers in German club football.

Farke and his Liverpool compatriot, Jurgen Klopp, lead the way in England’s top two tiers over this international break, and the Norwich boss feels English football is on the up.

“When I am asked in Germany I always praise English football, because there is so much good development in this country,” said Farke. “Now if you look at the youth system England have won many, many titles in recent years and it is no coincidence the Premier League clubs and the national team is successful.

“We have some problems with the youth side in Germany and you can see perhaps that is reflected in the national team and the giants struggling.

“I would still say a club like Bayern (Munich) is one of the top clubs in Europe but perhaps they are in a transition year.

“They have some older players and that is tough. But the English clubs are a bit ahead.

“There are lots of discussions. When the teams are not successful in the Champions League you can be sure this throws a spotlight on the debate. All the experts are concerned because the youth team results are not good in recent years.

“After a poor period you get an outstanding period and the other way around. We have won titles at youth and internationally, and maybe this is a wake up call.”

England’s best young talent is also being head-hunted by the Bundesliga, with Jadon Sancho starring for Borussia Dortmund and now the Three Lions.

Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi, who was heavily touted with Bayern in the January transfer window, became the youngest England player to make his senior debut in a competitive international in Friday’s 5-0 European Championship qualifying rout against the Czech Republic.

Norfolk’s former FA technical director, Dan Ashworth, believes the blossoming of young English talent signals a subtle shift in power.

“We haven’t landed a big prize since 1966,” he said, speaking to the Times.

“I don’t think we can compare ourselves to Germany just yet, although it was interesting to see Michael Zorc, (Dortmund sporting director), allude to the fact that young English players had overtaken young German players.

“Jadon will clearly be a better player by playing in, even possibly winning, the Bundesliga and playing in top competitions.”

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