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‘He’s a great player’

Rooney joins in chorus of praise for Müller

Hermann Gerland is praising him to the skies, Gerd Müller thinks he is “Germany’s number one striker,” and even England’s world-class marksman Wayne Rooney says he is “very impressed”: Bayern shooting star Thomas Müller’s sparkling display in his country’s victory over Australia at the World Cup has drawn a chorus of praise from all sides.

“"Muller, I think he’s a great player. He got a goal and works hard like he does with Bayern Munich, I was very impressed with him. He showed a lot of pace and composure," Rooney said in Rustenburg on Wednesday. The Manchester United goal-getter witnessed Müller at close hand in the Champions League quarter-finals. Depending on results, Rooney and England could meet Müller and Germany in the World Cup last sixteen.

Stunning instincts

“For me, Thomas is Germany’s number one striker. He shoots with both feet, he can head the ball, and he just lets fly from 20 metres,” Gerd Müller said of his namesake: “But best of all, he puts away his chances.”

Thomas scored his maiden goal for Germany in a manner strongly reminiscent of Gerd, and also laid on Lukas Podolski’s opening goal. “His biggest strength is his instinct,” commented Thomas Müller’s former coach Gerland. The “Tiger” took charge of the youngster in the Bayern reserves, where he scored 15 goals in 32 third division outings, bringing him to Louis van Gaal’s attention. The rest of the story is well known.

Unencumbered and energetic

“He knows exactly when to be where. Scoring goals is the crucial thing, and he has this rare ability. He was doing it as a youth, he confirmed the knack when he played for me, and he’s doing it for the seniors – not just against minnows, against the big-name teams,” Gerland told the tz tabloid.

Bayern captain Mark van Bommel thinks his Munich team-mate could play a central role at the tournament. “He’s proved it time and again this season. You can see he’s never nervous, he just does his thing,” the Dutch midfielder said. A major strength, Van Bommel added, was the youngster’s ability to block out the media fuss and hype surrounding him: “He doesn’t let it affect him at all, and that’s a major advantage.”