Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick has heaped praise on academy sensation Jamal Musiala. In the absence of key players Leon Goretzka (rest), Joshua Kimmich (injury), and new signing Marc Roca (red card suspension), Musiala was granted a start in his UEFA Champions League debut against hosts Atletico Madrid.
He was substituted just after the 75th-minute mark but it was enough for the young midfielder to display his talent in the game that ended 1-1.
The English prodigy once again caught the eyes of many with his performance against footballing giants Atletico. Registering a pass accuracy of 93%, three successful dribbles, and winning all of his three attempted tackles, it was a mature showing from a player still aged 17-year-old.
“I like him very much,” said Flick of his pupil, who still calls him “sir.”
Musiala is making quite an impression, not just on his coach but also on his superstar colleagues. After becoming Bayern’s youngest player to play in the Bundesliga in June, the Stuttgart-born scored a right-footed screamer in the season opener against FC Schalke 04 to inscribe himself as the youngest goal scorer for the Bavarians.
By earning three starts, frequent cameos off-the-bench and most importantly, a treble-winning coach’s trust, Musiala has certainly done himself proud. But he has been able to achieve this on the back of solid impact in training.
“Jamal plays in Munich in a team peppered with top players,” the 55-year old said, before revealing that “he is highly valued by these players because he has an enormous calm on the ball, a strong dribble and is difficult in one-on-one to stop.”
To further illustrate the coach’s point, Musiala has completed a roster-high nine take-ons, from a success rate of 75% in the Bundesliga (Opta). What’s impressive about it is that the England U-21 international achieved this in a squad consisting of Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane and Douglas Costa, and in fewer minutes than the rest (145).
Very happy and thankful to have made my CL debut tonight ❤️ pic.twitter.com/QEQYslCgzi— Jamal Musiala (@JamalMusiala) December 1, 2020
Even when he loses the ball, he shows a certain sense of urgency and is quick to jump into applying counter-pressure. At 17, the midfielder is still a raw product and needs work on his physique.
“We have to be cautious; we can’t forget that he’s 17,” Flick said, before going on to note that Musiala has to “improve physically, we are working on it.”
However, the diligence and calmness shown by the teenager is beyond his years and that has been a reason for excitement and hope for Flick and Die Roten faithful.
“What can be seen in purely footballing terms, FC Bayern can be very satisfied,” Flick remarked.