With Germany looking to rebuild its squad after a miserable first-round exit at the 2018 World Cup and a Round of 16 loss to England in Euro 2020, newly appointed national coach Hansi Flick will have a task at his hand to revive the fortunes of the 2014 World Cup winners. One man who can take his chance in Flick’s new Side is Borussia Monchengladbach’s left-back Luca Netz.
This could be a repeat of the 2010 World Cup where Germany integrated several young players such as Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Jerome Boateng, and Toni Kroos into the national team. Specially as the likes of Havertz ,Adeyemi and Wirtz are becoming a crucial part of the national team setup.
PLAYING CAREER SO FAR
Netz started his career with FSV Bernau who were then in the Regionalliga Nord (Regional League North), the fourth tier of the German football league.
Netz was with the club for a solitary season before he joined the Hertha Berlin’s academy.
It was at Hertha that he made massive strides as he established himself as one of the top youth players.
After making his way up the youth level, Netz made his debut for the reserve side of Hertha.
During this time, he also played for the U-15 German national football team followed by a two-year-stint with the U-18 national side where he scored five goals in 21 appearances.
His debut for Hertha’s senior side was on January 2, 2021, when he came off as a substitute for Marvin Plattenhardt against Schalke 04.
He would score his first senior goal against Stuttgart through a scruffy finish from a Sami Khedira pass.
This made him the youngest goalscorer in the club’s history.
The encouraging performance caught Borussia Monchengladbach’s interest who snapped up the youngster at a fee in the region of $ 4 million.
— Gladbach (@borussia_en) August 6, 2021
According to fbref, Netz has initiated 3.82 pressures per 90 minutes in the attacking third which puts him in the top five per cent when compared to full-backs.
In addition, he averages 3.50 touches in the penalty area which again puts him on the top six per cent full-backs.
This shows that he is an attacking full-back who loves to provide width to his team’s play.
It is one of the reasons that Monchengladbach’s coach Adi Hutter has played him as a leftwing-back and as a left midfielder for the past four matches.
He also tracks back to help out in the defense, however, his numbers do take a tumble when it comes to defensive duties.
For instance, Netz attempted 17.20 pressures per 90 minutes in the last year which puts him in the top seven per cent category when it comes to fullbacks.
However, only 4.62 pressures were successful, a rate of 26.9 per cent which puts him in the bottom 20 per cent of full0backs.
Netz does score well when it comes to blocking passes with 2.39 blocked passes per 90 minutes among the top five per cent of the fullbacks.
So for now Monchengladbach should continue playing him at left wing-back as he improves his defensive abilities.
WHAT THE STATS DON’T TELL YOU
Due to his large physical stature, Netz has always played for teams above his level.
For instance, he started playing for the U-17 when he was just 14.
This means that despite his young age he has amassed a lot of experience which will be of great help as he looks to solidify his position in the Monchengladbach’s squad and p[possibly the national squad.
Netz is also a brilliant two-footed player.
“There are few players who are left-footed and have such a good shot with their right,” Hertha’s then-manager Bruno Labbadia told Goal.com.
Labbadia’s views are echoed by DFB junior coach Christian Wuck who worked with Netz at the U-15 levels.
“His exceptional left foot and his speed are among Luca’s greatest strengths. The combination of these two qualities makes him so valuable,” he said to Goal.com.
WHAT MAKES HIM SPECIAL
Netz is the perfect definition of a modern full-back. He is fast, he is quick with his feet and loves to get into the attckiong third.
“Once he starts dribbling with the ball at his feet, he is difficult to stop,” Wuck says.
This means that he may be able to transition into a left-winger or could become a top attacking left full-back as long as sorts out his defensive acumen.
This means that his versatility could come into use in case of a tactical change or in event of multiple injuries in the team.
The sky is the limit for Netz and he is currently playing in a team that plays with wing-back which will suit him considering his attacking prowess.
Moreover, after Monchengladbach’s disappointing start to the season, Netz had been given regular minutes in the team.
And Netz is a player who gets better as he plays more.
Germany were blessed with a generation in the 2010s that won them a World Cup and it’s time for them to have a new one.
Whether Luca Netz will be a part of that new generation led by the likes of Havertz and Wirtz remains to be seen.FIFA do rate the the young left back highly as they have given him a base stat of 69 and a potential of 85 in the career mode of the latest edition of the game.
Surely this flying left back will make a mark on the global stage very soon.