Josip Stanišić: 'Defending is the key point for me'
One mission for Julian Nagelsmann is to bring talents through from the FC Bayern Campus to the senior squad. Josip Stanišićis on course to be a young version of Rafinha: Always to be relied on when needed
The interview with Josip Stanišić
Josip, how surprised were you to be in the line-up against Union Berlin last April?
"It was a big surprise and I really didn't count on it. Fortunately, Hansi Flick only told me I'd be playing on the day of the match and not the day before -- then I would definitely have had a disturbed night. I was very nervous although not in comparison to my father. My mother told me he couldn't sit still (he laughs)."
You succeeded in moving up from the youth teams to the senior squad. Not many players manage that. What do you need to make it happen?
"Above all, it needs hard work and also lots of patience. Not everybody has such outstanding talent as Jamal Musiala for example that he can go straight into the first team at the age of 18. And, of course, you need a bit of luck to be in the right place at the right time. If you get the chance then you shouldn't drive yourself crazy after a poor game but instead trust your strengths."
When did you realise you'd make it?
"I only thought I'd make it to the first team squad a year ago -- and the fact I've done it here at FC Bayern only came about in the preseason. I was lucky a number of international players were away and I was able to play in every friendly. When I felt the confidence of the coach it became clear to me that I can make it here."
Rafinha was the prime example of a reliable backup for many years. A role model for you?
"Yes, I'd say so. I'm not somebody to make big claims because I know I'm possibly not there yet. I want to keep on improving then be the first option for the coach if somebody's injured or needs a break."
The position of fullback in modern football is very significant and demanding. What do you have to bring with you?
"That completely depends on the type of player. Phonzie Davies is very dangerous in attack with his incredible speed. That's why he needs to bring that into play as often as possible. In contrast, I'm trained as a defender and defending is the key point for me. I only get involved in attacks if it's possible and makes sense. You have to trust your own strengths and not try to copy anybody else."
Do you have role models in your position?
"At the moment I'd say: Benji Pavard. He's a bit more dangerous in attack than I am but he's always in the right place in defence as he covers so much ground during a game. Philipp Lahm used to be my idol when I watched training sessions as a child. I don't think Lahm had a single game in his whole career where he made two mistakes."
Who were your other favourite players?
"My whole room was full of posters of Franck Ribéry, Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger. And I obviously also had Bayern bedding -- I still have it but I don't use any more (he laughs)."
You were born in Munich and have dual German and Croatian nationality. Now you've been picked for Croatia. What does that mean to you?
"My family comes from Slavonski Brod, a town in the East of Croatia. It's a dream come true for me to play for Croatia. The Croatian Football Association and the National coach Zlatko Dalić worked hard for months to get me and give me some perspective. I'm really looking forward to the challenge."
The full interview is in the October edition of our FC Bayern membership magazine '51'. It's also includes an article on what convinced Marcel Sabitzer to make the move to Munich: