Turning 16 is a big deal as it’s largely seen as a coming-of-age for most kids. Paul Wanner, however, isn’t an ordinary kid.
Just 15 days after his 16th birthday, Paul Wanner came off the bench to replace Marc Roca against Borussia Mönchengladbach to become the second-youngest player in Bundesliga history and also Bayern’s youngest ever player to feature in a competitive game.
The most fascinating thing about his debut wasn’t just his age but his maturity in actions both on and off the ball despite his limited first-team experience. His directness, quick feet and ability to dribble the ball in tight spaces with ease coupled with wonderful balance and composure made him stand out.
He had seven touches of the ball in his 15 minutes on the pitch, completing 60% of his passes and winning 40% of all his duels, while covering 1.49 miles (2.4 km) and reaching a top speed of 17.95 mph (28.9 kmh).
Naturally, Wanner’s a no 10 but can also play out wide when needed. His footage from Germany U17 and Bayern U19 indicates that he loves to operate in the free role as a no 10 where he’s given space to roam the pitch.
This trait along with having a gem of a left foot, showed glimpses of a tall Bernardo Silva in him and the potential to become an elite ball-magnet in the future.
His excellent ability to shield the ball and close control is similar to Jamal Musiala, someone who he looks upto as a role model as he aims to make his way up the ranks in this star-studded Bayern side.
For Germany’s U17s he averages a goal or assist every 77.6 minutes from his seven caps, while he also has four direct goal contributions to his name for Bayern’s U19s this season. Wanner also has 5 direct goal contributions in just 3 UEFA U17 Euros Qualifiers so far.
One of Hermann Gerland’s final acts before leaving FC Bayern was to insist internally that Paul Wanner has a similar ceiling to Jamal Musiala and that he must be kept at the club.
Hasan Salihamidžić and Bayern might have just found an internal replacement for the aging Thomas Muller. Florian Wirtz, someone they’ve been interested in for a while now is not only a costly option but also wanted by other elite clubs.
After drawing comparisons with none other than Mesut Özil, Wanner has big shoes to fill. However, his enormous potential suggests that both FC Bayern and the German National Team’s future is in safe hands.
By: Musa Syed / @Musa_Bavarian
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Sebastian Widmann – Getty Images