Podolski left fuming over 'mascot' criticism

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The Germany forward responded to derogatory comments ahead of this summer's Euro 2016 tournament in France, following his squad inclusion for the reining World Cup winners

Lukas Podolski was left angered by criticism of his inclusion in Germany's 23-man squad for the upcoming Euro 2016. 

Social media users were surprised by Podolski's call-up, despite Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus being left out of the tournament due to injury. 

Podolski scored 13 goals for Galatasaray in 2015-16, including the winner in their 1-0 Turkish Cup final win over rivals Fenerbahce. 

The 30-year-old hit back at claims he is only going to France as a "mascot", and believes he can play a big part in Germany's push for a first European Championship in 20 years.

"I'm not going as a mascot as some people have described it," Podolski said. 

"I find it shows a total lack of respect. I've got over 100 caps. To describe me as a mascot, I think that's out of order.

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"I've got a lot of experience and had a good season in Turkey."

He added: "I'm fit, injury-free and my goal is to win the Euros."

Podolski has scored 48 goals in 127 appearances for Germany, with his last strike coming in a 2-2 international friendly draw with Australia in March 2015.

Germany have been drawn in Group C for the Euros alongside Ukraine, Poland and Northern Ireland. 

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