The 18-year-old faces a tough battle for playing time, but wants to impress Pep Guardiola enough to earn a shot
For a young player trying to break through to the first team, there aren’t many tougher places to be than Bayern Munich.
That’s the situation 19-year-old U.S. international Julian Green finds himself in at the moment. Despite scant first-team experience and an abundance talent ahead of him, Green is hoping to break through in 2014-15.
“My goal is to play for the first team,” Green told Goal USA. “I have to train good and I have to play good, and then it’s the decision of the coach.”
That coach, Pep Guardiola, expressed his belief that Green would stay with the Bayern first team for the upcoming season on a conference call earlier in the week.
“I think he’s going to stay, but I think we’ll see during pre-season,” Guardiola said. “We have time. I know him and I know he trains well and he’s a good guy and my first idea is that he’s going to stay for the rest of the season.”
Despite Guardiola’s words, Green appears to face an uphill battle for meaningful playing time this season. His only senior team experience has come in friendlies and a five-minute cameo in the Champions League last fall.
Green has progressed as a player in the past year, gaining important experience with the U.S. national team in friendlies and at the World Cup. Still, with names like Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze ahead of him in the pecking order, minutes could be hard to come by.
“Of course it’s difficult. It’s one of the best teams in the world, but that’s soccer,” Green said of his battle for playing time. “We have very good players and everybody wants to play. You just have to give your best in every training session and see what happens.”
Green scored 15 goals in 23 appearances in the fourth division last season for Bayern's reserve side. A loan move could be an option should he not be granted the first team chance he desires, though he remains focused on proving himself to Guardiola.
“Everything is possible but right now I don’t think about a loan, I just think about Bayern and I want to play for Bayern,” Green said.
Green will get his first chance to impress in Bayern’s upcoming two-game U.S. tour, as they face Chivas de Guadalajara at Red Bull Arena on July 31, before heading to Portland to face the MLS All-Star team Aug. 6.
“I’m looking forward to seeing all my team-mates from the national team who will be playing on the All-Star team,” Green said. “I can’t wait to play against them.”