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Jupp Heynckes talks James Rodriguez, Leon Goretzka, and Corentin Tolisso

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The former Bayern coach had a lot of good things to say about about three of the team’s key players.

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Legendary Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes sat down with AZ to talk about Bastian Schweinsteiger leading up to the testimonial match for the Chicago Fire star. When the interview turned to the current day roster, however, Heynckes remembered a conversation he once had with Zé Roberto. The former Bayern man from Brazil spoke with Heynckes about the challenges of growing up in South America, including what can happen if you do not find a way to stay on the right path in life.

That discussion with Zé Roberto led Heynckes to assess how comparable James was with Schweinsteiger and how motivated James has been to reach such heights in his career:

James is also someone who can fight like Bastian, but you have to tease it out of him as a coach. James is a highly sensitive soul, a highly talented footballer, a street footballer who grew up in Colombia. Zé Roberto once said to me: “Either you make it as a professional footballer in these countries, or you become a criminal and land on a gang.” You can escape only if you’re an exceptional player with a great fighting spirit. That’s what we see in James today.

With James as the central figure in Bayern’s plan to conquer the LATAM market, the Colombian’s personal success story is one that can surely resonate within the region as the club looks to connect with the region and build a strong presence among the population.

Heynckes also spoke about newly minted Bayern player Leon Goretzka and his midfield mate, Corentin Tolisso. Regarding Goretzka, Heynckes sees a lot of similarities between the former Schalke 04 man and Schweinsteiger with regard to how they both needed time to develop before being ready for the big stage in Munich:

Leon Goretzka is a very good player, but he has to develop first and reach Bayern’s level. It was the same way with Bastian. As a young player, he did a lot of stupid things.

With Tolisso, it is obvious that Heynckes is a fan:

Corentin Tolisso is a fantastic young man with great character.

It is always refreshing to get a former coach’s perspective once he is no longer sitting in the manager’s chair. If Heynckes thinks Goretzka is heading down the same road as Schweinsteiger, then it could be time to start getting exciting about the future of the midfield in Bavaria.