Should Manuel Neuer be Germany’s No. 1?

Just four days out from Germany opening Euro 2024 against Scotland, question marks surrounding Manuel Neuer’s ability have arisen. The 38-year-old, who returned to the squad for the first time since his horrific leg break, played both warm-up games against Ukraine and Greece, but didn’t quite impress.

Neuer’s mistake allowed Greece to open the scoring in Mönchengladbach last week after spilling a shot, allowing Giorgos Masouras to fire the ball past the Bayern Munich stopper. He also had a less-than-inspiring performance against Ukraine which raises the question, should he still be Germany’s No. 1?

Julian Nagelsmann certainly backs his stopper. Speaking after Neuer’s error against Greece, Nagelsmann told RTL: “I won’t let any discussion arise, even if everyone tries to start one.” But that didn’t stop Uli Stein from voicing his criticism.

In his Kicker column, Stein believes that Neuer ‘should have been left at home’.

“If you take Manuel Neuer with you, you have to let him play. But he no longer justifies it in sporting terms,” wrote Stein. “With a heavy heart, but with common sense, he should have been left at home.”

Neuer’s mistake against Greece wasn’t his first of the season. The 38-year-old also spilled a shot from Vinicius Jr. in the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid, with Joselu’s late brace eliminating the Rekordmeister.

And with a plethora of goalkeeping talent within the Germany setup, questions have to be asked whether making Neuer the number one is the correct decision.

Nagelsmann named four goalkeepers in his preliminary Euro 2024 squad: Neuer, Marc-André ter Stegen, Oliver Baumann and Alexander Nübel.

Second string to Neuer at Bayern, Nübel was loaned out to Stuttgart last season, where he excelled, helping VfB qualify for the Champions League for the first time since the 2009/10 season.

But needing to cut a player from his 27-man squad, Nagelsmann sent Nübel home.

In Neuer’s absence, when recovering from his leg break, it was Ter Stegen that deputised for his teammate and many argued that Barcelona’s stopper should be Germany’s No. 1.

In what is likely Neuer’s final tournament for his country, there’s no doubt that Ter Stegen will take over the reigns, but he should be Germany’s stopper this tournament.

GGFN | Daniel Pinder

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