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Michael Ballack will have to earn back his starting role in the Germany national team, according to Sami Khedira.

Real Madrid and Germany midfielder Sami Khedira has issued a challenge to veteran compatriot Michael Ballack.

"In his career, Michael Ballack has done much for German football and has produced several excellent performances at major tournaments," the former Stuttgart man said.

"But with all due respect to him, that may no longer matter.

"I know that I do not have to hide, and can bring to the national team my own style and, hopefully, success."

Khedira stood in for the injured Ballack at this summer's World Cup, and performed admirably as Germany finished third. The 23-year-old has vowed not to simply surrender his starting role to Ballack, who is 10 years his senior.

Earlier this week, coach Joachim Loew announced that Ballack would remain Germany captain if he were to play. However, he added that the Bayer Leverkusen man would have to earn back his starting role, stating that Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger were currently his first-choice pairing.

Germany kick off their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign against Belgium later this evening. Khedira is expected to be in the starting line-up.

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