In a recent interview with SportBild (captured by Bundesliga.com), former Schalke and The Netherlands striker Youri Mulder said that Bayern Munich youngster Joshua Zirkzee is a “serious talent.” Although Zirkzee hasn’t had the most glamorous season with Bayern’s reserves in the 3. Liga thus far, he was recalled to Bayern’s senior squad for their last two matches of the hinrunde against SC Freiburg and VfL Wolfsburg, respectively. In both of those matches, Zirkzee scored after coming on as a late substitute, helping Bayern earn a valuable 6 points to close out 2019.
Despite having only seen brief glimpses of Zirkzee in Bayern’s senior squad, Mulder is convinced that the 18-year old is destined for a fruitful career with Die Roten:
This guy has a massive career ahead of him, he’s a serious talent. He’s got a great build for a striker, a real nose for goal and he can really play. He’s just a fantastic footballer.
A native of Schiedam in the western part of The Netherlands, Zirkzee blazed his own trail playing for the Dutch U-19 side and began his career playing for Feyeenord’s U-19’s. Having played for the Dutch National Team from 1994-2001, Mulder feels that Zirkzee will one day be a part of the conversation at the senior level for The Netherlands if he continues progressing with Bayern:
We’re looking for strikers after our main guys Memphis Depay and Donyell Malen suffered serious injuries. If Zirkzee keeps developing like this, it won’t be long before he enters the conversation.
While he had a brief stint with the senior squad under Niko Kovac, it was Hansi Flick that really decided to take a chance on Zirkzee given the circumstances he played him in. Both times he came on as a late sub, Bayern was in desperate need of a goal to secure points in a season that’s seen such a tight title race amongst a handful of teams at the top of the table. Mulder said he admires the faith that Flick showed in Zirkzee:
It says a lot about Hansi Flick’s understanding of human nature that he put the guy in when it matters - not just when the score was 3-0 or 4-0. Flick knowingly took a risk, and his plan worked brilliantly. He’s got full faith in Zirkzee, and knows: ‘I can always count on him, even when games are on a knife-edge.’
Moving forward, Mulder emphasized how positive it can be for Zirkzee to continue to grow and develop as a player under the guidance of fellow striker Robert Lewandowski:
To be able to develop in the shadow of Robert Lewandowski is an ideal situation for such a talent. You can learn a lot from such a world-class striker. Bayern is undoubtedly the best place for Zirkzee.