When Pascal Groß was named in Hansi Flick’s last Germany squad, eyebrows were raised, questioning whether the Brighton midfielder would be able to step up to the international stage. Nevertheless, with Julian Nagelsmann now in charge, Groß does not look like disappearing any time soon, and with such impressive performances, should the 32-year-old start for Germany at EURO 2024?
Since joining Brighton – and even during his time at Ingolstadt – Groß has been an ever-consistent performer, leaving those who adore him domestically baffled as to why he had never managed to force his way into the international scene. However, in just a matter of games, his desire, versatility and workmanlike behaviour has seen him become a key part of Nagelsmann’s plans, taking the place of Leon Goretzka in midfield.
Playing alongside Germany’s captain, İlkay Gündoğan, Groß has complemented the Barcelona midfielder to perfection. Despite often being at his most effective advancing into forward areas, his versatility has meant that while Gündoğan has been the one cascading down the pitch, the Brighton midfielder has dropped back to offer balance and discipline to the side.
This is something that has been reflected in his defensive numbers when facing the USA and Mexico. Against the United States, Groß was able to complete two out of the three tackles he attempted while having a flawless duel record, coming away with the ball on all four occasions.
When facing Mexico, the 32-year-old won 60% of his duels while boasting a 100% aerial success rate. His phenomenal defensive performances have been a breath of fresh air to the Germany squad in the absence of Joshua Kimmich, without having to lose any ability on the ball with Groß averaging a 92% pass competition rate over both games.
Therefore, when Kimmich is fit to return to the squad, Nagelsmann could look to shift the Bayern Munich midfielder to right-back due to the squad’s deficiencies in that department. Nevertheless, due to Groß’s quality and clear versatility, it is a position he has been able to play domestically with Brighton on a number of occasions, and if required, he could also be deployed at right-back.
This is something that Nagelsmann nas noticed during his short time with Groß. When speaking to the media before the game against Mexico, the national team coach would comment on the Brighton midfeilder’s impact:
“Pascal has done very well, he has a very good coach in Brighton who gives him a lot. Pascal is very clever in space, is brave and has good counter-pressing, he can play many positions. He’s been a bit under the radar in Germany for years, but for him, the national team is something special, he is excited to be here. He is a very intelligent footballer.”
With Groß playing such a key role domestically for many years, it is rewarding to see the 32-year-old finally receive the credit he richly deserves. His performances have been phenomenal, and what he offers to this Germany team is unmatched; there is no reason why he should not start for Naglesmann’s side at EURO 2024.
GGFN | Will Shopland