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(Feature) Kimmich, Loew's secret leader - Xinhua | English.ne

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By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Pep Guardiola once praised young Joshua Kimmich as a coach's life-insurance.

"If you have a player of his quality around, you can achieve everything," the former Bayern Munich and current Manchester City coach commented.

Year's after Guardiola's ultimate accolade, the 24-year-old has justified the Spainard's predictions. In advance of Germany's curtain-raiser in the qualification for the 2020 European Championships against the Netherlands this Sunday evening in Amsterdam, Kimmich has turned into a true leader his national coach Joachim Loew is counting on.

Taking off from the little Swabian village of Boesingen (3300 inhabitants), 70km of Stuttgart, Kimmich seems ready to fill the gap after former team leaders such as Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, and Thomas Mueller have been excluded by Loew.

The German coach is fond of the Bayern Munich professional's skills to influence the team's game placed right in front of the back-row despite his role in his Bavarian club where he developed to one of the world's best right-backs.

Inexhaustible variety seems Kimmich's most valuable weapon aside from his ambitious character that developed in his early years. "He has been well structured and ambitious since he was a little boy," Kimmich's father commented.

Berthold Kimmich said his son "was always expressing his opinion, he has never been particularly retained." Besides being a "loudspeaker", as his dad put it, Kimmich Junior always obeyed the rule "to first deliver a good performance and then talk."

Joining the VfB Stuttgart, the biggest club nearby, in 2007 for six years and the at that time third division side of RB Leipzig in 2013, Kimmich followed a strict career plan. He was a vital part of Leipzig's success promoting to the first division and attracted the interest of Guardiola and Bayern Munich. Kimmich was 20 years old.

Other than his club coach Niko Kovac, Loew is relying on Kimmich's midfield qualities such as natural leadership skills aside from his excellent passing and the ability to read and influence a game. The "safeguard" was even allowed to criticize Loew's decision to omit his club team-mates by saying "the style wasn't perfect."

Many regard Kimmich to be on the way to be appointed team-captain in his club and the national team soon.

His strong character paired with his solid team spirit and empathic feature makes Kimmich appear like a natural born leader. Meanwhile, 39 times capped Kimmich is Germany's number three behind of Toni Kroos (91) and Manuel Neuer (85).

Kimmich made his debut in the national team as Loew's biggest surprise at the 2012 European Championships in France.

"Today, everyone is expecting him to always deliver the highest level. The average is not enough, everyone quickly got used to him always delivering the best performance," father Kimmich emphasized.

In the national team, Kimmich has gained a place in Germany's crowded midfield containing top international forces such as Ilkay Guendogan (Manchester City), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich) and Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen).

To enjoy the coaches and the team's trust is "a reason to be proud" and "to walk in the front line" Kimmich Junior commented. Facing the Netherlands this Sunday the struggling German team seems to need precisely that type of courage.

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