I would be happy to play right-back for Germany, says Lars Bender

The 23-year-old insists that he would have no qualms if he was asked to line up in defence for his country, having played there in his youth, and is simply happy to be at Euro 2012
Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender insists that he would be happy to play at right-back for Germany at Euro 2012 if asked to by coach Joachim Low.

With Jerome Boateng suspended for Sunday's clash with Denmark, Schalke's Benedikt Howedes has been widely tipped to fill in for the Bayern Munich defender.

However, Low has previously hinted that he would be open to deploying Bender on the right-hand side of defence, and the 23-year-old has indicated that he would be willing to do so.

"I've played there when I was younger," he revealed to Goal.com. "Of course that was very different to playing there professionally, but I think there's no reason why not. I'm happy to fill in the gaps.

"I'm in a position where I'm not overly disappointed if I don't play. The team is more important"
"For a young player going to a major tournament for the first time, it's always exciting to just stand on the pitch, and it's a great experience."

The former 1860 Munich man has seen limited game-time in the tournament thus far, but is not unsatisfied with his lot, arguing that every player must do their job for the team.

"Of course I can't do my thing. There are tactical targets, and everything must have a certain order. You have to know where you belong," he added.

"For me it's just important to be at the tournament. No-one knows if you'll ever have the chance again, so you have to enjoy it.

"I'm in a position where I'm not overly disappointed if I don't play. The team is more important."

The Bavaria native was selected by Low for the tournament ahead of his twin brother, Borussia Dortmund's Sven, and Lars went on to state that there was no animosity between the two siblings over the decision.

"It was predicted that one of us would not be going [to Euro 2012], but the moment when you are told is a painful one. But we're both young, therefore he's targeting World Cup 2014," he explained.

"We can both be very happy with the way we have spent our careers. These are great experiences that will stay with us forever. We both play for top clubs in Germany. We're still living the dream."

"These are great experiences that will stay with us forever. We both play for top clubs. We're still living the dream"

- Lars Bender on brother Sven

Both Sven and Lars are noted for their tireless running in every match that they play, but the latter feels that their stamina is merely the result of playing in midfield, adding: "It's just because of our position. It's essential that we always run, cover ground, and be ready everywhere."
11/4 Germany are now 11/4 with William Hill to win Euro 2012.

Bender was born in Rosenheim, the same Bavarian town as Bastian Schweinsteiger, and although he accepts that he bases some of his game on the Bayern stalwart, he is cautious over crediting anyone as an idol.

"Bastian has become an absolutely world-class footballer in central midfield. When you play in a position, you base it on the best," he continued.

"I don't want to take anyone as a role model, though. I think to get the perfect player, you would have to mix several people together."