Bayer Leverkusen youngster Florian Wirtz has been put in the same category as Kai Havertz by his former academy chief Jörg Jakobs.
|Bayer Leverkusen's first team in training.||Photo: Marco Verch, CC BY-SA 2.0|
Bayer Leverkusen starlet Florian Wirtz has been singled out for praise by former FC Köln academy boss and sporting director Jörg Jakobs.
The 17-year-old, who was snapped up from Köln's youth ranks in January, became Leverkusen's youngest Bundesliga debutant last week, overtaking the record held by his teammate Kai Havertz.
Havertz is widely regarded as Germany's brighest prospect, but Jakobs believes Wirtz is just as gifted.
"He's an exceptional talent. He has a combination of potential and extreme determination, which is extremely rare. I have rarely seen an offensive player, who works so hard at tracking back, despite the fact that he could rely solely on his offensive qualities. He wants to win every defensive duel as well, and that makes him a complete player," Jakobs told Kicker and added:
"'Flo' can do everything. He has a lot of witty playfulness, great technique, incredible playing intelligence, he's fast with the ball and is a good dribbler. If he stays healthy, he's at least in the same category as Havertz," added Jakobs, who is now a member of FC Köln's supervisory board.
Germany's head of academy coaching, Meikel Schönweitz, has huge expectations for the versatile offensive player as well.
"'Flo' is a very good footballer; a creative midfielder, who is very safe with the ball and always has a solution ready," Schönweitz said about Wirtz, who is currently a German under-17 international.
"He anticipates many situations before they arise. Thanks to his good vision and playing intelligence, he has an advantage when moving on the pitch. In combination with his good first touch and outstanding ball control, he has a strong skill set.
"He's a good, determined guy, who knows in which direction he wants to go. We at the DFB see him as a great bearer of hope, that's for sure," Schönweitz said.