By Rune Gjerulff@runegjerulff

Ilkay Gündogan: Captaincy does not guarantee starting place

Ilkay Gündogan says being Germany's captain doesn't necessarily mean he'll start every game.

 

As Germany's captain, Ilkay Gündogan is expected to play an important role for the host nation at this summer's European Championship.

But in an interview at Germany's training camp, the 33-year-old says he's far from certain to start every game just because he's the captain.

"I think modern football has changed. It's no longer structured in such a way that the captain always has to play. The level of competition is just too high for that," he said.

"We have so many great players. Whether you're captain or not, you always have to prove yourself," explained the 76-time capped German international, who took over as captain last September.

“You have to give the coach the feeling in training that you're ready to go. It's then up to the coach to find the right players.”

Gündogan has been criticized for the 45 minutes he played in Germany's 0-0 friendly draw with Ukraine earlier this week. The 33-year-old has a good explanation for why he wasn't at his best.

"It's probably been one of the toughest seasons I've had in my career," he said of his debut year at Barcelona.

"You might not think so because I spent seven years in England with Manchester City.

"I have a lot of minutes in my bones. I didn't fly through the season.

“It's good that you manage the minutes, that I only played 45 minutes against Ukraine. The aim now is to be in top form for the opening game and ready to give everything in the tournament,” said Gündogan ahead of Germany's final warm-up friendly against Greece on Friday.

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