Kenan Yıldız and the DFB: Is Germany’s youth set up letting talents get away?

Former Bayern Munich youth product Kenan Yıldız made his senior debut in October for Turkey national team. Born in Regensburg to a German mother, the midfielder was eligible to play for Germany and was highly rated by Bayern bosses. However, the 18-year-old has never featured for the DFB youth sides and is now firmly set on representing his father’s place of birth, Turkey. 

The DFB’s inability to see Yıldız’s future prospects or select him at youth level came home to roost on Saturday as the youngster scored against Germany in Turkey’s 3-2 win in Berlin. 

Yıldız was on the books at Bayern from the age of 9 until he was 17. For many years, the youngster was considered one of the greatest offensive talents on the Bayern campus alongside Paul Wanner. However, he was never selected for the German youth teams. 

Instead, Yıldız had to wait until the age of 17 when he started playing for Turkey U17s, U21s, and most recently, the senior team.  

Having been sold to Juventus last summer, Yıldız has featured for the Old Lady five times so far this campaign and scored on one occasion. So why didn’t the DFB take action all those years ago? Current Germany U21s boss, Antonio Di Salvo, has known about Yıldız for some time. 

“I have known Kenan Yildiz for a long time. I live in Munich and have previously seen Kenan’s youth games at FC Bayern. But I haven’t dealt with him at the moment because I know that he has already played for Turkey’s U21s. If a player plays for another country, then for us it is first of all that he has made a decision.”

So, does the DFB consider a player off the table if they play for another country’s youth set-up? The answer is a clear no. Jamal Musiala played for England’s youth teams alongside Jude Bellingham before switching to Germany. 

This raises more questions: Was it just a lack of attention to detail or communication on behalf of the DFB? Yıldız is clearly a top talent for his age group and is playing his part with Juventus’s first team. If he keeps on the path he is currently on, he will certainly be Germany’s loss and Turkey’s gain. 

Turkey will be at the European Championships in Germany next year and can secure the top spot in their qualifying group with a win over Wales on Tuesday night. 

GGFN | Jamie Allen

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