United States national team star Chris Richards says he wants to take the "David Alaba route" at Bayern Munich as his career progresses.
Richards initially moved to Bayern from FC Dallas in 2019, and has since made 10 senior appearances for the club.
The German champions took the decision to loan the defender to Hoffenheim so he could play more regularly in the second half of the 2020-21 campaign, and he returned to Rhein-Neckar-Arena on a season-long agreement last summer.
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What's been said?
Richards has played in 16 Bundesliga games for Hoffenheim as they have risen to fourth in the table this term, and is hopeful of forcing his way into Julian Nagelsmann's plans when he returns to Bayern.
The 21-year-old takes inspiration from Alaba's journey, with the Austrian having enjoyed 11 trophy-laden years at Allianz Arena following his switch from Rapid Vienna back in 2009.
Alaba, who is now on the books of Real Madrid, is widely regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation, and Richards is hopeful he can be similarly successful as he develops at Bayern in the coming years.
“Everybody knows David’s story,” says Richards. “I think when you’re playing at Hoffenheim, especially as a young player, a lot of the top clubs all over Europe are taking notice.
"And so if I go back to Bayern and take the David Alaba route then that’s probably the best-case scenario. But there are also other routes you can take to get where you want to be.”
Richards on young players choosing Bundesliga
The Bundesliga has a proud history of nurturing top talent from the United States, with the likes of Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie having learned their trade in Germany.
Alongside young American players such as Giovanni Reyna and Tyler Adams, Richards is among a new generation of stars building a strong reputation in the Bundesliga, but few have enjoyed the same success in England.
The Bayern star acknowledges the fact that competition for places is greater in the Premier League, as he added: “I think the thing about Germany is that it’s not too political. If you’re working hard and you’re doing well in training, you’re more than likely going to get a chance on the weekend, right?.
“I’m not saying it’s a worse league than the Premier League but if you go over to England it’s definitely going to be a big jump and a struggle to get games.”