AL SHAMAL, Qatar : Teenage striker Yousoufa Moukoko has almost no memories of past Germany greats apart from retired forward Miroslav Klose but his audacious nature makes him ready for the big stage, Germany captain Manuel Neuer said on Saturday.
Asked which former Germany striker he admired, the 17-year-old Moukoko said he knew only 2014 World Cup winner Miroslav Klose, the all-time record goal-scorer of the competition.
“I was not even born but Miroslav Klose, I have seen videos from him. The others I was not even there,” the forward, who will turn 18 on Sunday, told a news conference.
For his captain, 36-year-old veteran Neuer, the past plays no role at the World Cup in Qatar and Moukoko and fellow teenager Jamal Musiala are already fully integrated despite their young age and raring to go.
“They are audacious but in a positive way,” Neuer said, sitting next to Moukoko. “They dare to do things on the pitch. It is important to bring this audacity in training and when they play, so that opponents see it.”
“You can see that Mouki is completely integrated. He dares to speak up; we got to know each other fast and we have a good relationship.”
Germany kick off their World Cup Group E matches against Japan on Wednesday before also facing Spain and Costa Rica.
Moukoko won a surprise call-up this month after having scored six goals in the league for Borussia Dortmund. Germany were short on strikers following pre-tournament injuries to Timo Werner and Lukas Nmecha.
“A forward is there to score goals,” Moukoko said. “I am here because the coach believes I can help the team. I will give it all and enjoy it. It is not understood that at 17 you’ll be here.”