Emre Can is showing skill and attacking drive as he is turning into an almost certain member of Germany’s squad for the Euros in summer — in the unfamiliar position of left-back.
Skilful ball control followed by an accurate back-heeler right in front of coach Joachim Loew on Sunday in Bucharest was just one of the moments where he showed he could be the best man for the job, DPA news reports.
“Emre was really, really strong,” Loew said after Germany’s 1-0 over Romania in World Cup qualifying. “He is very good on the ball and very strong physically, he keeps the opponents busy.”
The 27-year-old from Borussia Dortmund, with previous terms at Juventus and Liverpool, is normally a centre back or holding midfielder with plenty of experience.
“I see myself as a central player,” he said recently.
Can made his Germany debut in 2015, as a right back, and played every match at Germany’s successful run to the 2017 Confederations Cup trophy. He did not do so well in the Euro 2016 semi-final Germany lost against France, and missed the 2018 World Cup with injury.
His favourite number six position is all but impossible to earn in the national team because of the likes of Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Toni Kroos and Ilkay Guendogan, and as a centre back he was sent off 15 minutes into a Euro qualifier in Estonia two years ago.
It was coincidence that Can now finds himself as left back behind winger Leroy Sane, starting with Thursday’s 3-0 against Iceland.
Atalanta’s Robin Gosens was suffering from muscular problems, Marcel Halstenberg had to go into coronavirus-related quarantine and Philipp Max appeared not up for the job in last year’s 6-0 meltdown in Spain.
Can thus became somewhat of an emergency solution, with his experience from the clubs and now 32 international caps helping him.
He is expected to fill the position again Wednesday against North Macedonia and then is a real option at the Euros as well where the group stage opponents will be of a very different calibre in world champions France and title holders Portugal.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Loew had to come up with a makeshift left back as former centre back Benedikt Hoewedes filled the same role when Germany won the 2014 World Cup.
“It wasn’t planned that Emre plays on the left. He has done well, very well,” Loew said.