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“A role model for team”: Germany coach Hansi Flick on what makes Thomas Müller an ‘exceptional’ player

Müller’s winning mentality can inspire Germany to World Cup glory.

Soccer - FIFA World Cup 2014 - Final - Germany v Argentina - Estadio do Maracana

“If a coach could carve himself a player: Thomas Müller would be the result.”

It may not be as concise as Louis van Gaal’s ‘Müller spielt immer’, but Hansi Flick’s latest praise for the Bayern Munich vice-captain is arguably just as iconic. Ahead of Germany’s FIFA World Cup opener against Japan, Bundestrainer Flick was asked about the coaching demands he has placed on national team players. Naturally, the 56-year old answered by providing the example of Müller, hailing Der Raumdeuter for devoting himself to the service of his team and leading his colleagues on-and-off the pitch.

“Thomas Müller is a good example of what I expect from the players and in the team,” said Flick in an interview published in DFB’s World Cup edition journal. “If a coach could carve himself a player: Thomas Müller would be the result. The overall package he offers is outstanding. Everyone can take an example from him and his attitude; Thomas is exceptional and very special in every respect. For the team, he has value beyond his athletic abilities.”

When pressed about why he holds Müller in such high regard, Flick highlighted the Bavarian native’s implacable desire to work towards his goal.

“Thomas Müller brings what Jeff Bezos described as a ‘Day 1 mentality.’ The first day of falling in love, the first day at a new job, the first day at school,” he added. “The trick is to retain the magic of the beginning. And Thomas exemplifies this every day. Of all the players in our squad, he’s been around the longest, he’s experienced a lot, and yet you can always sense with him that he’s on fire as if it were the first day.”

Last year, I had the opportunity to cover one of my favorite Müller interviews, where he spoke about his motivations and hard-working mindset. Flick’s recent words are resoundingly familiar to how the 2014 World Cup winner described himself at the time. While players like Jamal Musiala, Leroy Sané and Joshua Kimmich have been stealing the spotlight with their terrific form this season, there’s no doubt that Müller was and continues to remain the most important player for Flick and Germany.

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