Jonas Hofmann has become one of the first names on the teamsheet for Hansi Flick's Germany, despite a relatively late arrival to the senior international party.
Hofmann only made his national team debut in October 2020, but he has not looked back since. The Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder has featured in all but two of 13 matches under Hansi Flick, starting nine. In that time, the 29-year-old has registered four goals and an assist.
"Once you've had a taste of the national team, you want more," Hofmann said.
"The Euros were a positive experience because it was my first major tournament, but it was also a negative experience because unfortunately I got injured and couldn't play in it, but you still develop from such things and it brought about a hunger and desire of wanting to play for Germany more in future."
Hofmann further enhanced his long-term Germany prospects by producing career-best numbers for Gladbach in 2021/22. He scored 12 times in 29 Bundesliga appearances, doubling his previous best set in 2020/21, whilst chipping in with five assists.
As well as being his team's top scorer, the former Hoffenheim, Mainz and Borussia Dortmund man was also first for sprints (718), second best for distance covered (168.6 miles/ 271.3 kilometres) and joint fifth for crosses from open play (18).
"In the last two-and-a-half years, Jonas has really developed his game. And he's become a Germany international, which not a lot of people saw coming," opined ex-Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl, who recruited an injury-afflicted and somewhat mercurial Hofmann to the Borussia-Park from Dortmund in January 2016.
"He's an incredibly versatile player and can perform on the wing, as a No.10 or even as a No.6, and the fact he's now scoring more goals has lifted him to the next level."
Watch: Jonas Hofmann orchestrates an impressive win for Gladbach against RB Leipzig
Hofmann is quite simply an extremely gifted and smart footballler. At club level, he tends to do his best work from an attacking midfield position. For the national team, he lines up either on the right-hand side of attack in a 4-2-3-1 or at right-wing-back in a 3-4-3 formation.
"Jonas is a very intelligent and ball-safe player with good speed," explained Flick, who has witnessed Hofmann score in two of Germany's first three 2022 UEFA Nations League Group A3 fixtures.
"He has real quality in attack, and has the will to work hard defensively. There are real demands of him in the right-sided areas, but he does an excellent job. I'm really pleased with him."
When Germany arrived at the 2018 FIFA World Cup as defending champions, Hofmann wasn't even on the national-team radar. With five months until the start of their Qatar 2022 campaign, the Gladbach talisman is a shoo-in for the squad, if not the starting XI.
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