Germany are well known for producing some of the finest talents to grace the modern game and continue to do so on such a continuous basis that the National team is always favourites for major cup competitions.
For centuries they have produced some of the best talents in world football, from Gerd Müller and Franz Beckenbauer to Toni Kroos and Mesut Özil. But now there are a bunch of new talents breaking through, each with colossal potential about to take the Nationalelf by storm and cement their place in the new era of the Germany squad for years to come.
In Germany’s 0-0 draw against Italy, they started three 21-year-olds, whilst later bringing on Serge Gnabry (21) and Jonathan Tah (20). For Joachim Löw to have such trust in these young players already to represent a nation like Germany, which holds great demands in each game whether that be in a friendly or not, just shows the new generation of talent coming through is phenomenal. With one player in particular catching the eye of the new breed of youngsters, the youngest of the lot, Tah is already highlighting exquisite performances consistently at club level and has already gained three national caps as well as rising through the Germany ranks through U16s, U17s, U19s and U21 ranks.
With the new season starting to take shape, GGFN look at what is in store for Jonathan Tah for the remainder of this season and what to expect from the exciting 20-year-old in the foreseeable future after recent media reports suggest Jurgen Klopp could be eyeing up a move for the central defender.
Born in Hamburg, Germany. Tah started his football career with Atlona 93, a club which is based in the city of his hometown. He then moved to another Hamburg based team SC Concordia before being snapped up by Hamburger SV where he went on to make his competitive debut in the DFB Cup in August 2013. Bayer Leverkusen came calling for the sensation and managed to get their man on a five-year-deal after Tah swapped life in his hometown for Leverkusen back in July 2015 with the German International going on to make 38 league starts for die Werkself, with the defender still seeking his first professional goal.
With the generation of centre-back’s slowly changing, Tah has found himself in the heart of that category alongside the likes of John Stones of Manchester City. Before the modern day way of playing football, defenders were more or less asked to clear the ball into row Z instead of looking to play the game the right way, the beautiful way. The 20-year-old shines in a variety of areas, and the way he wants to play football will catch the eye of ball playing managers who like to play out from the back, such as Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique and Arsene Wenger which are managers that all spring to mind. Playing the game as a modern defender will see Tah try and play from the back, whether that be passing the ball out to a teammate or dribbling out into midfield, thus far this season the Leverkusen man has managed an 84% pass accuracy which is excellent, averaging a 19m pass length.
Despite standing at an astounding 6ft 3, Tah is very, very quick across the ground which always puts him a step ahead of his opposition, whilst possessing excellent speed the German youngster is very agile in his play, and very good with the ball becoming very polished in possession. Standing at such a size, and having such a big frame, he can often look like he will give the ball away, much the same way German compatriot Per Mertesacker plays, at such a size you can look awkward when in possession but that’s just something which comes along with the size of the player, but in fact Tah is very good in possession and rarely does get dispossessed, despite having dangling legs.
Talking about Tah’s pace, this is essential for a modern day defender to have allowing the youngster to have very quick recovery speed if his team are caught on the break, or of course to make up for a mistake, whether than be an individual mistake or his team being going on the break. Along with his recovery speed comes his strength too, he is very mobile and can certainly brush aside anyone that comes his way, another trait the young German possesses is his dribbling ability, he likes to drive out from the back, although this is encouraged in modern day football it can lead to mistakes, with Tah making three defensive errors already this season.
The towering defender, at a tender age is playing in an experienced manner which is most impressive, his concentration levels are sky high for a 20-year-old and often is aware of his positioning and opponents around him and this has once again shown this season with him managing to win 60% of his duels thus far.
Ball playing defenders are often hard to find, especially with the amount of potential the Leverkusen man is carrying. Playing the ball out the back can daunt the most experienced defenders but the ability to find a man in midfield, playing the ball through the lines is certainly a strength which the is playing with and constantly improving on. Despite having the ability to play the ball through the lines, Tah has also exquisite long range passing, finding his team-mates with beautiful accuracy and ease.
Tah has already showcased some excellent displays this season in the Bundesliga and is growing in confidence with each passing game, as you can see with his performance score below.
At an age of just 20-years-old, Tah is of course very premature in what promises to be an exciting career, but gaining regular experience through becoming a regular for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga is preparing himself to reach the very top. Amongst the rare breed of new centre-halves his performances have of course caught the eye of many around Europe, playing in a high defensive line operating as a ball playing defender, oozing brilliance and already becoming a German international. It is quite clear why managers such as Jurgen Klopp is intrigued by the young talent, whilst he looks set to unsettle the likes of Mats Hummels and become a regular for the Nationalelf and fulfil his potential which looks to be very exciting.