Mario Götze has described criticism of his early season form as "absolute nonsense" ahead of Germany's World Cup qualifier against San Marino. The Borussia Dortmund player said his record speaks for itself.
In Friday's edition of German mass-circulation newspaper "Bild," the attacking midfielder said it was unfair to constantly look back at the impact he made as a teenager at Borussia Dortmund, who he re-joined from Bayern Munich earlier this year.
"Should I now just go back to being an 18-year-old?" the now 24-year-old Götze asked. "I now have almost 60 international caps, six years of success and five championship titles. These are facts. Every footballer develops and the old Mario Götze is no more."
Götze has played under a strong media glare since he burst on the scene and this has only intensified since he scored the winner in the 2014 World Cup final. He's failed to score a Bundesliga goal since his return to Dortmund and struggled to fully impose himself in his three years in Bavaria. But he doesn't regret his career moves.
"In Munich I learned a lot, played with world-class players and matured," he said. "Overall I was happy in Munich and I am in Dortmund too."
Götze is likely to play at least some part in either Germany's World Cup qualifier against San Marino on Friday or the friendly against Italy on Tuesday. In the interview, he welcomed the appointment of the country's new attacking coach, Miroslav Klose.
"It's great that he's back in a new role," Götze said. "We can learn a lot from his sporting spirit and fairness."
The diminutive midfielder will once again be in the spotlight when the Bundesliga returns. His Dortmund side welcome his old club Bayern on November 19.