Josha Vagnoman: who is the VfB Stuttgart defender who is scaling the international heights?
Having battled his way up through the international ranks from an early age, Josha Vagnoman is now flying the flag for VfB Stuttgart with his senior international call-up for Germany.
bundesliga.com zones in on the Stuttgart defender currently making all the right moves ...
Club: VfB Stuttgart
Country: Germany (seven caps U17-U20, 12 Under-21 caps)
A native of Hamburg, Vagnoman joined HSV's youth academy in 2010 and signed pro terms with the German giants some eight years later. In March 2018, under then coach Bernd Hollerbach, the right-sided defender made his senior debut at the Allianz Arena against Bayern Munich, coming on as a substitute in a heavy defeat for Der Dino. In doing so, Vagnoman became Hamburg's youngest-ever Bundesliga debutant at 17 years and 89 days. The highs of a first-team debut would soon be tempered by relegation, however.
In 2018/19, injury and competition for places limited Vagnoman to 11 second division appearances although the he was able to display his versatility in featuring in three distinct positions: on either side of defence and higher up on the wing. A subsequent bone break hampered the former Hamburg man's progress somewhat during the following campaign but it was a sign of his determination that he managed to make a full recovery the same campaign and bring his match tally to 16 in Bundesliga 2, even scoring once in a 4-0 win against Erzgebirge Aue.
Vagnoman continued to battle through setback after setback on the injury front as the Red Shorts narrowly missed out on promotion back to the top flight time and again. Indeed, Vagnoman's last appearances for Die Rothosen would come in the relegation play-off loss against Hertha Berlin at the end of 20221/22.
A move to Stuttgart was sealed at the start of the 2022/23 campaign and thus far, the 22-year-old has managed to make 14 Bundesliga appearances as VfB battle against relegation from the top tier.
A UEFA European Under-21 champion with Germany, Vagnoman first burst onto the international scene at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2017 while two years later he was a runner up for the Fritz Walter Medal award. Vagnoman would go to form part of Stefan Kuntz's squad that went all the way to glory at the 2021 European championships. Injury forced him to pull out of the Germany Olympic squad that same year.
In March 2023, the Stuttgart man received his first senior international call up to Hansi Flick's Germany set-up.
Plays a bit like: Glen Johnson
Strong, athletic and surprisingly nimble for a player of his considerable build, Vagnoman is both fearsome in the tackle and shrewd when it comes to his attacking contributions, much like former Liverpool and Chelsea full-back Johnson, who won 52 caps for England.
Did you know?
Vagnoman was also eligible to play international football for the Ivory Coast on account of his Ivorian father.
What they're saying
"Of course [the Germany call up] also came as a surprise to me, [but] I'm taking the situation professionally. I won't let myself down." - Vagnoman reacts to being included in the Germany senior squad for the first time.
"He interprets his role in a very modern way." - Germany coach Hansi flick explains why his is impressed by the Stuttgart man.
"We can see that Josha is on the rise [and] that's good." - Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia knows there is more to come from his versatile defender.
"[Vagnoman] has always performed well for the Under-21 national team and we are happy that he has been rewarded and called up now." - VfB CEO Alexander Wehrle.
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