Julian Nagelsmann on Bayern Munich teenager Paul Wanner: ‘I fought for him to stay’

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann has explained how he personally intervened to ensure teenage prodigy Paul Wanner stayed at the club.

Wanner, 16, recently signed a contract extension with the Bundesliga champions after breaking into the first team. He was also given the number 14 shirt, once worn by midfield maestro Xabi Alonso.

“I fought for him so he wouldn’t leave the club, so he stays with us,” Nagelsmann said in his press conference ahead of the Matchday 21 encounter with former club RB Leipzig. “I had discussions with him that were important to convince him.”

The midfielder was just 15 days past his 16th birthday when he became the youngest player to ever play for Bayern’s senior side in the Bundesliga era, for the final quarter of an hour. the defeat of the 18th day against Borussia Mönchengladbach.

He has played in both games since, racking up 17 extra minutes against Cologne and Hertha Berlin.

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“My aim is for him to be a key first-team player for us one day. That’s the idea and the reason why we extended with him,” the 34-year-old tactician explained.

“Now it’s about using this semester to fully find your bearings, to be fully tested and everything that goes into it. You have to create a good individual training plan, but also manage the school. You forget with a 16-year-old that there is compulsory education in Germany, which we, as Bayern Munich and also Paul Wanner, have to respect.

The Austria-born Germany Under-17 international joined Bayern as a 12-year-old from Ravensburg in 2018, starting at the Under-14s. He started this season rotating for the U17s and U19s before Nagelsmann made the decision to move him into the senior fold – training alongside current Germany senior international midfielders like Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Jamal Musiala – and throwing it in the deep end, having never even presented for reserves before.

Wanner (c.) had the opportunity to train and play alongside a world-class midfielder like Joshua Kimmich (l.). – Maja Hitij/Getty Images

“This is the foundation to give him the best possible development. Then we will see what the next steps are,” added Nagelsmann. “He’s also had a lot of playing time for his age and will get more playing time. He’s been training with us and he’s doing well.

“But it’s about quality training, physical development, peak physical level. Secondly, he is a player with very great potential, whom – ideally – Bayern and I will have a lot of fun with in the weeks, months and years to come.

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