Dhe defender Armel Bella Kotchap, who was nominated for the first time, sees himself in the national football team as a trainee who wants to learn. The 20-year-old prefers not to dream of the World Cup in Qatar just yet. "I'm the youngest here and I still have a lot to learn," said the central defender, who left the club for around eleven million euros in the summer VfL Bochum had moved from the Bundesliga to England to FC Southampton upon his arrival at the DFB team hotel just outside of Frankfurt.
The call from the national coach Hansi Flick totally surprised and amazed the U-21 international. "I didn't know the number. I was very surprised, but also very happy," reported Bella Kotchap, who played against Hungary in the Nations League games on Friday (8:45 p.m., in the FAZ live ticker for the Nations League and on ZDF) and could make his international debut against England on Monday. But first he wants to show himself in training and “convince the coach” with his qualities.
"That says a lot"
The 1.90 meter tall defender spoke almost in awe about his suddenly new team-mates from top clubs such as FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. "I can learn a lot here. I play here with players who play at a very high level," he said.
Flick attests Bella Kotchap a “very good development” in Southampton, where he is now being supported by former Bundesliga coach Ralph Hasenhüttl. “We want to see him with us this week and get an idea. He defends well at Southampton and in the Premier League, that says a lot,” said Flick.
Bella Kotchap could even jump on the World Cup train at the last minute. The physically strong defender is above all a perspective player for the home European Championship in 2024. "For us it is also important what comes next," said Flick on the sighting of talents in the senior team.