The development of Joshua Kimmich, the 2017 German Player of the Year, from emerging talent under Pep Guardiola to Die Mannschaft mainstay has been one of the more interesting story lines that has been prevalent over the past three seasons in Munich.
Joshua #Kimmich collected his award for Germany's 2017 Player of the Year ahead of kick-off last night Congrats again, Jo! #DieMannschaft pic.twitter.com/UKPbWWlwN2— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) March 24, 2018
Kimmich, however, has no plans to get complacent on that personal journey. The 23-year-old right-back recently sat down with Süddeutsche Zeitung (summarized on Bundesliga.com) and offered his thoughts on his future goals as a part of Bayern Munich and the high standard to which he holds himself.
My aim is to become a leader at Bayern and with Germany; it’s a role I’m not afraid of. By nature, I’m definitely one who likes to take responsibility. [However,] telling others something or supporting them along will only work if your own performance is consistently good, if not, nobody will put faith in what you say. You also have to be the type of person who can and wants to perform such a role [and] I definitely want to.
Kimmich, who developed at VfB Stuttgart as a youth player before moving on RB Leipzig, has made the transition from central midfielder to right back with aplomb. It was a move, however, that Kimmich was not sure he was willing to make initially. It is safe to say, that move has paid numerous dividends for Kimmich, Bayern, and Die Mannschaft.
Two years ago at the European Championship in 2016 [with Germany], I would have said, ‘right-back is okay, but in the long run, I probably won’t be able to reach top international class [playing in that position]’. However, in the meantime, I have developed as a full-back and so I think it’s quite possible that I can play a decisive role as a right-back [looking ahead].
Kimmich further explained why he initially was intent on staying centrally-based before opening up on a move that would lead to eventually him replacing Bayern legend Philipp Lahm.
The number six—defensive midfielder—is considered the central position in the game: you can get the ball from every side, are involved in virtually every action and need that 360 degree all-round view. Yet, I sometimes now see that the full-back position is even more complex. As a full-back, you have the touchline as your orientation and limitation, but you make a lot more intensive runs there. You also fight much more important defensive battles while on the wing these days as you come up against mostly the best and quickest opponents in the world. All the while offensively, you should also ideally still participate.
One thing that has been abundantly clear over the past year has been the view that German national team coach Joachim Löw has of Kimmich. As Löw noted, Kimmich is a special and unique talent with seemingly limitless potential.
Joshua is one of the greatest talents I have seen in the past decade. He’s got that bite and hunger to push himself to the limit in every training session. He’s going to have an amazing career.