Austrian team boss Ralf Rangnick continues his intense campaign for the exceptional talent Paul Waner. The 17-year-old from Bayern Munich is eligible to play in both Germany and his birth country Austria. At the end of February, there was another meeting between Rangnick Wanner and his advisors. How the attacking midfielder decides is still uncertain.
The future depends only on Wanner himself. “There has been no decision yet,” said the Austrian Football Association’s sports director Peter Schöttle on Friday at a media event in Vienna from the APA. It is not planned that Rangnick will nominate the young man for the imminent start of the European qualifying tournament in Linz. Waner was born in Dornbirn but grew up in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. He has an Austrian mother and a German father. So far, the talent has only been active in the German youth selections. Rangnick brought him into the ÖFB-A national team for the first time in November as a training player without being used.
“We know he feels very comfortable with us,” Schottel explained. Rangnick is behind Wanner’s victory in the ÖFB. “He sees extraordinary opportunities in it.” Even the personnel problem on the defensive left wing, which has plagued Rangnick since taking over last year, he appears to trust him to be able to solve. Last week, the aspiring team coach watched live on the spot during the 3-2 home win by Bayern Munich’s second team against Schweinfurt in the Regionalliga Bayern.
Waner has not had a chance with Bayern Munich players in recent weeks. His eighth and final match so far for the German Bundesliga champion dates back to February 5, with a 4-2 league victory over Wolfsburg. “He’s at an important age,” said Schüttle, who once again confirmed that he had informed the DFB of all the steps. “We’ve always played with open cards. I’d like to see that kind of transparency from other associations as well.”
Changing the association in football is a “sensitive issue”
The Austrian Football Association continues to lose hopeful talents trained in Austria to other countries eligible to play in due to their origin. Recently, former Rapidler player Robert Ljubicic, who was born in Vienna and now works for Dinamo Zagreb, decided to move to Croatia. However, most often the change of states occurs already in young age. The Austrian Football Association lost Salzburg players Amar Dić and Luka Susic to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, respectively. Both players were trained in Austria.
“It’s a difficult subject – and it will become more and more important in the next few years because so many players have so many options,” Schüttle explained. Team boss Rangnick will set his squad to start the European Championship qualifiers against Azerbaijan (March 24) and Estonia (March 27) on Tuesday (1pm, live on ORF Sport+) in Vienna.
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