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ICC gives Ancelotti a chance to see Bayern’s youth

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The new Bayern manager will see what he has in the youth ranks during his team’s summer tour of the United States for the International Champions Cup.

CHICAGO — Carlo Ancelotti says Bayern Munich doesn’t need any more summer signings, and he’s probably right. But, partly because of the wealth of talent the Bavarians have at their disposal, Ancelotti will need a little help during the team’s summer tour.

Players such as Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and new signing Renato Sanches are still resting up from their Euro campaigns. That gives Ancelotti plenty of time to work with the likes of Julian Green, Juan Bernat and young goalkeeper Christian Fruchtl. In addition to Fruchti, there are another nine players from Bayern’s youth ranks on the road with the team.

That’s plenty of young players for Ancelotti to call on when the team contests the International Champions Cup. In fact, while stars like Arturo Vidal, Franck Ribery and Philipp Lahm are a part of the traveling roster, unproven players might get the bulk of the minutes in the competition. In many respects, that’s exactly what the preseason is for, and noted talent-spotter Ancelotti will be able to get a glance at the players who might make up the club’s future — or even the present if they’re able to break through.

While there is a happy medium of players in their prime in the Bayern squad, as would be expected from a team that comes in on the back of four straight league titles, there’s also a strong emphasis on bringing up younger players that has long been a part of the club’s strategy. 

“It’s not just old and young in the team — there is a pretty solid middle there that Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba for example are a part of, and they’re very experienced players too,” Lahm said at a news conference. “Nonetheless, the youth players have always been a very big part of the Bayern Munich culture and very, very important for the identification and ethic of the club.”

Alaba reflected on Ribery accepting him into the team as a youth player, saying his transition into becoming a Bayern regular was aided by his friendships in the locker room. There is plenty of pressure for players to deal with — pressure that’s difficult for some teenagers to cope with.

“It can be tough, of course. When you play your first game in a stadium in front of 80,000 people, it can be scary. But I think as a young player when you reach this step to be with the first team, you always dreamed of that, and when the dream comes true you’re very blessed,” Alaba told Goal. “It’s scary for the first moment, but after that you’re just living your dream and are very happy and thankful.”

While Bernat will look to earn regular minutes again and Green will look to settle in with the first team after time away on loan, youth players like 17-year-old midfielder Timothy Tillman, who went a half in Bayern’s final friendly before coming to the U.S., and 18-year-old midfielder Mario Crnicki are hoping to do enough to have a moment like the one Alaba described — a dream come true with a professional debut at the Allianz Arena.

Ancelotti’s task this summer of evaluating his young players and old players alike seems to have him reinvigorated as well. It’s not just the teenage youth players looking fresh going into the ICC opener against Milan on Wednesday at Soldier Field.

“It will be a new challenge for me at a fantastic club. I’m really, really excited, really happy also to know a new language, new culture, new country, new club,” the 57-year-old said. “It keeps me young.”


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