Germany legend Matthaus hammers Low & calls for Ter Stegen to replace Neuer

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The 59-year-old is facing further criticism for the timing of his decision to end the international careers of three senior Bayern Munich stars

Former Germany captain Lothar Matthaus has criticised Joachim Low's management of the national team and called for Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to replace long-time No.1 Manuel Neuer.

In a wide-ranging swipe at Low, the Bayern Munich legend was also highly critical of the head coach's decision to publically axe a trio of senior players from the international scene.

Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels were all told earlier this month that they would no longer be considered for selection, as the World Cup-winning coach looks to revitalise his squad following a disastrous showing at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

And now Matthaus has taken aim at Low for his handling of the situation, claiming that the timing of the move showed disrespect for players who had achieved so much in their country’s colours.

He told  Sky Sport :  "For about 40 years I have been experiencing more or less closely the events of the German national team. And I cannot remember that a change, a cut, a new start ever took place before a qualifier or tournament. This always happens after an event.

"I see bankruptcies, bad luck and mishaps and they started, even before the World Cup. The catastrophic handling of the personality Mesut Ozil. The non-nomination of Leroy Sane.

"And after the embarrassing departure in the preliminary round, no consequences were drawn. Everyone - even the players - would have understood if they had been gracefully moved on right after the tournament.

"Low missed that chance and, out of loyalty, gave most of them a second chance in the Nations League. As you know, this was not used."

All three players starred as Germany won a first World Cup for 24 years in Brazil in 2014, with Muller landing himself the Golden Boot with a five-goal haul, but they have taken the fall for a dire outing in Russia.

The team continued to underperform throughout the second half of 2018, finishing bottom of their Nations League group behind France and the Netherlands to slide out of the tournament’s top tier.

"For me that's not acceptable and not fair and appropriate," said Matthaus. "I can understand his decision from a sporting level, totally. He wants to integrate young, ambitious, hungry and talented players.

“But just as the players often made the wrong decision at the World Cup on the pitch, so did Low in terms of timing and communication of the upheaval. He got it completely wrong."

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Addressing the goalkeeping situation, Matthaus hinted that Low’s commitment to Bayern Munich’s Neuer is evident by his possession of the captain’s armband.

There have been calls for Barcelona goalkeeper Ter Stegen to succeed Neuer, who has been No.1 since the 2010 World Cup, and now one of the most senior voices in German football has added his name to the Barca ‘keeper’s growing list of admirers.

"The captain's armband cannot decide whether you're playing or sitting on the bench," he told Bild . "Ter Stegen has earned a fair chance due to his world-class achievements over the past two years. If you decide with the performance principle, it has to be valid for everybody."

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