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Confident Draxler eyes bigger World Cup role

James Thorogood
May 28, 2018

Julian Draxler had higher hopes for his pre-World Cup domestic campaign in Paris. The 24-year-old, nevertheless, oozed confidence as he discussed making a mark in Russia at Germany's base in Eppan.

Trainingslager Nationalmannschaft in Südtirol | Julian Draxler
Image: Getty Images/AFP/M. Medina

The jury is still out on Julian Draxler. After sending Bundesliga records tumbling having burst on the scene as Schalke's youngest-ever debutant, he was hailed as one of Germany's hottest prospects. At the age of 24, the Gelsenkirchen native has seven years of top-flight experience under his belt, but the feeling is he's still yet to reach his true potential.

Draxler's track record suggests he has an impressive guile for making a pre-emptive departure to avoid a club's decline. Comfortable with the foundation he had built as one of the Knappenschmiede's greatest successes, a search for trophies and a grander stage saw him turn his back on his boyhood club. 

Read more: Draxler speaks to DW

Swapping the Royal Blues for Wolfsburg was a rash move and he was fortunate to come away relatively unscathed from an 18-month tenure with a faltering side that were crying out for a leader.

Struggled to break through in Paris

His time in Paris has at the very least bolstered his trophy cabinet courtesy of a cup double in 2016/17 and the domestic treble in the campaign just past. However, it's done little to enhance the World Cup winners' reputation given how he's struggled to breakthrough into PSG's star-studded line-up.

Draxler though, remains positive about his choice to move abroad, telling the assembled press in Eppan that it "only brings advantages, you grow as a person and a player – I can only recommend it."

Fußball Nationalmannschaft Südtirol Training Camp Day 2
Draxler, right, with teammate Mesut Özil at Germany's training base in Südtirol.Image: Getty Images/Bongarts/A. Hassenstein

Whether or not he's become the forgotten man in the French capital or not, that certainly isn't the case in the eyes of Joachim Löw.

It's with the national team that Draxler has flourished in recent years and next month he returns to the setting of one of his finest moments as a professional footballer.

Drawing from the experience of captaining Die Mannschaft to a 2017 Confederations Cup win in Russia last summer, it seems under Löw's tutelage in the Germany set-up is where Draxler is at his most comfortable and confident.

The World Cup winner only got 15 minutes of action under his belt when Germany lifted the title in 2014. At this summer's spectacle, Draxler has ambitions of making a much bigger impact in their title defense.

'Convinced' of more game time

"I was very young in 2014 and was putting a testing time at Schalke behind me," Draxler said. "My situation has changed. I'm more mature and a better player now. I can give a lot to this side and be of a huge help. I'm convinced that I'll get more game time this time around."

"I've had a lot of good games for the national team. The coach can put his faith in me. I'm aware that there's competition for places […] but I'm not worrying that I won't be on the plane."

Read more: Frustrated and forgotten — PSG's Julian Draxler

Marco Reus and Leroy Sane are the challengers for the starting berth on the left wing. With Reus only recently returning from a long-term injury and Sane still unproven in Die Mannschaft set-up, it's advantage Draxler as things stand.

For the 42-time international, the World Cup could be the platform to prompt his next preemptive escape. For the first time in his career though, after another difficult season, it is personal decline and not that of his club that Draxler needs to be wary of.

James Thorogood Sports reporter and editor, host of Project FußballJMThorogood
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