Bayern Munch’s Josip Stanisic earned his first call-up to Croatia’s senior team and for the 21-year-old, it was well-deserved.
The youngster has been the breakthrough star of the season so far for Bayern Munich as the versatile defender has shown the ability to play anywhere along the back-line and also as a defensive midfielder.
Stanisic has become so proficient under Julian Nagelsmann that it appears the manager has no qualms about using Stanisic against any competition. While Benjamin Pavard remains the team’s starter at right-back, it would appear that the Frenchman’s stronghold on the position has at least loosened a bit.
Josip Stanišić has been called up to the Croatian senior national team for the first time pic.twitter.com/KvThuoTU6v— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) September 20, 2021
While Pavard has been very solid since the midway point of last season, there has been an undercurrent of rumors and leaks stating that the Bavarians are not necessarily enamored with Pavard’s play at right-back.
Pavard scuffled in the Hinrunde during the 2020/2021 campaign and it could be surmised that his struggles were attributed to rushing back from an injury. It truly was not until the second half of the season where Pavard began to look like himself — and played well.
That uneven impression, however, seems to have left doubt with the Bayern Munich brass, who have been linked to numerous right-back candidates over the past year. If the Bavarians are not sold on Pavard as a long-term option at right-back, they might have their solution already in-house with Stanisic.
Calm under pressure, quick, and eager to get involved in the offense, the 21-year-old has shown the kind of brazen play you expect from young players — only without the errors and silly mistakes.
More, Stanisic has shown to have the type of versatility that coaches — including Nagelsmann — covet. It would not be a stretch to think Stanisic could cover anywhere along the back-line, any central midfield position, or even at wing. Having that kind of flexibility on a roster offers Nagelsmann the assurance of having a dependable fill-in should injuries occur at several positions.
Should the young Croatian’s upward trend continue, it would not be shocking if the club pondered selling Pavard committing to the youngster on a long-term basis moving forward.