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Lehmann Criticises Euro 2008 Ball

Lehmann Criticises Euro 2008 Ball

Germany's goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, not one to reserve criticism of anything that displeases him, has taken issue with the new ball that will be used in the upcoming European Championships.

Lehmann, released by Arsenal at the end of the season and currently unattached, has admitted he is struggling to adjust to the new ball that will be used at Euro 2008.

He found his performance in Germany's friendly with Belarus on Tuesday  criticised as the Germans allowed a two-goal to slip, Belarus coming back to draw 2-2.

The 38-year-old Lehmann, who got little first-team action during his finalseason as a Gunner, was beaten twice in the last 30 minutes by Vitali Bulyga.

Accordingly, questions are again being asked about whether he is the right man for Germany to have between the posts in next month's tournament.

The man himself focussed attention on the new ball, saying the way it moves is difficult to cope with.

He told Kicker magazine: "The ball is very difficult for me. I only trained with it for the first time a week ago. It is once again different to the ones before it.

"I had a situation in the first half [against Belarus] where I wanted to hold on to the ball - and then it started to move around.

"I hope in the coming days, when also my freshness will come back, that I then have a bit of time for a lot of shot training in order to get more familiar with the ball."

Germany's coach, Joachim Löw, admitted that Lehmann is short of match practice, but has no intention of dropping him.

He told the German FA's official website: "You can sense that he needs games. He will definitely play in goal against Serbia on Saturday. We still trust him."

Löw has Hannover's Robert Enke and uncapped Bayer Leverkusen youngster Rene Adler as the other two goalkeepers in his squad.

Mark Hinton,Goal.com

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