Size not crucial in football, says Bayern great Augenthaler
Former Germany international Klaus Augenthaler believes that a smaller size should not be a disadvantage in football.
The former defender, who stands at 1.82m, says that other attributes such as technical ability, footballing intelligence and speed are important for the modern game too.
The Bayern Munich Hall of Famer, who was part of Germany's World Cup-winning side in 1990, made that point yesterday at the third FC Bayern Youth Cup at Jurong East Stadium, where the German giants announced a three-year partnership with Sport Singapore.
Under the tie-up, both sides will jointly organise the FC Bayern Youth Cup - an international youth tournament - and take part in coach exchanges and overseas education programmes.
Augenthaler, 61, scouted 16 players who might represent the Republic at the Bayern Youth Cup Finals in May.
The squad will be trimmed to 10 for the Finals at the Allianz Arena in Munich, where they will face teams from the US, Nigeria, Germany, China, India and defending champions Thailand.
Proving his point, Augenthaler's first pick from yesterday's tournament was 1.55m-tall Nur Muhammad Asis Ijilrali, 15, who caught his eye within the first 10 minutes of the competition.
Speaking through an interpreter at a press conference, Augenthaler emphasised that "it's not about physical size".
He said: "You need skills for football. You need control of the ball, the eye, and to be smart and quick."
ActiveSG Football Academy principal Aleksandar Duric agreed.
Said the 48-year-old former striker, who is 1.92m tall: "There's the wrong impression (in Singapore) that you need to be big and strong to play football. It's not true. Size doesn't mean anything."
Augenthaler also referenced five-time Ballon d'or winner Lionel Messi, who stands at 1.70m tall and also fellow Germans Philipp Lahm (1.70) and Mario Goetze (1.76), who were part of the German side that won the 2014 World Cup.
On the current national team, who are without the Bayern trio of Thomas Mueller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, Augenthaler said it's an unfortunate situation.
He added: "But, in the end, it's the decision of the coach. He decided who he nominates and for sure, the pressure's on him. He needs to show results on the pitch."