Why did Jamal Musiala jump ship from England to Germany?

Cameron Smith

Just a few months on from his England U-21 debut, Jamal Musiala could well be lining up against the Three Lions at the European Championship.

That's because the Bayern Munich attacker choose to represent the country of his birth, rather than England at international level, and hence has the chance to feature for Germany in the last-16 tie.

The battle for Musiala's international signature was a long one, and once he had appeared for England's U-21 side, it appeared a done deal. Even the head of Germany's academy teams, Meikel Schonweitz, said: "He has clearly signalled to us that he currently sees his future with the English national teams."

But, Musiala eventually opted for Germany.

When Jamal was with us he had offers from England and Germany, I remember speaking to him about the decision when he was U15. At that point, his preference was England
- Andrew Martin, head of football at Whitgift

Having been rewarded with a place in their Euro 2020 squad, something that almost certainly wouldn't have happened if he'd have chosen England, Musiala will be thinking it was the right choice.

But why did he choose Germany over England?

The fact that Musiala was at Chelsea's academy, and had represented England all the way through youth levels, barring two games for Germany at U-16 level, suggested he would opt for the Three Lions.

However, Andrew Martin, head of football at renowned Croydon secondary school Whitgift, which Musiala and Callum Hudson-Odoi, attended, believes that Joachim Low's desire to become a mentor for Musiala, just like he was, played a key role in Musiala's decision.

He told Sky Sports, that he thinks Low's mentorship was "a massive sway" for Musiala.

"It's where England have probably missed a trick, not convincing him to stay and to map out a pathway of their own," he said.

"They saw him progressing, whether that be six months, 12 months, two years. Not only did Bayern want him, but one of the most powerful countries in world football had already made it clear where they wanted him in the future.

"When Jamal was with us he had offers from England and Germany, I remember speaking to him about the decision when he was U15. At that point, his preference was England.

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"Playing on the English academy circuit, he knew the boys even if they were from Manchester City or Arsenal, they were playing against each other regularly and had a respect for each other. He didn't feel as comfortable or know the players, and staff when he was with Germany.

"Moving to Germany at 16, he's gone onto the German circuits, had a year playing in the German academy system, now he's in the first team, so he's used to playing in that system, in the Bundesliga every week, and unfortunately for England, drifted away from the English system due to being a regular in the country."

Musiala broke into the Bayern Munich first-team in 2020, and has made a total of 38 appearances for the side, scoring seven goals and assisting one.

Although in limited minutes, his non-penalty goals per 90 tally of 0.62 is better than the likes of Wout Weghorst (0.55), Serge Gnabry (0.54), and Thomas Muller (0.33).

In Euro 2020, he played a key role off the bench in Germany saving a draw versus Hungary to set up the match with England.