Football: Injury-free Manuel Neuer may start at World Cup for Germany

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer participating in a training session in Eppan, Italy, yesterday. The 32-year-old captain has not played since breaking a bone in his foot in September but is now recovering after surgery.
Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer participating in a training session in Eppan, Italy, yesterday. The 32-year-old captain has not played since breaking a bone in his foot in September but is now recovering after surgery.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

EPPAN (Italy) • Germany coach Joachim Low is upbeat about the prospects of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer regaining full fitness in time for next month's World Cup.

Neuer was the Golden Glove winner at the 2014 edition, making 25 saves and keeping four clean sheets to help Germany lift the trophy.

The Bayern Munich star was sidelined for most of the Bundesliga season and has not played since breaking a bone in his foot in September. But he is recovering from the injury that required surgery.

Speaking at the start of a training camp in northern Italy ahead of the World Cup, Low sounded confident that the 32-year-old Germany captain would play in Russia.

"He trained a week at Bayern, here he is training fully and can also deal with the intensity level," he told reporters.

"We will see from day to day. If he has the feeling that he is at 100 per cent then he can be there in Russia.

"Should there be any problems we would need to discuss it. But as things stand now he has no problems whatsoever and things look good."

Low is also expecting to have Jerome Boateng back in the squad later this week as the central defender has recovered from a groin injury suffered last month.

"Everything is going according to plan and by next week I expect him to be taking part in training," said the 58-year-old.

The Germans are preparing for the fourth time in Eppan, high in the Italian Alps, with Low praising the conditions for his players.

They will remain in Italy until June 5, a day after the deadline for the final squad announcement.

Low has taken 27 players to the training camp with four facing the cut.

"We didn't tell anyone that he's only here on probation," he revealed. "Everyone should have equal opportunities; we don't want to unsettle anyone. We have to wait as it shows in the past that injuries can happen."

Germany, who will travel to play a warm-up match away to Austria in Klagenfurt on June 2 before returning to Italy and then going home to face Saudi Arabia in Leverkusen six days later, are in Group F with Sweden, South Korea and Mexico.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2018, with the headline 'Injury-free Neuer may play in World Cup'. Print Edition | Subscribe