Felix Uduokhai has been called up by Joachim Löw for international duty with Germany for the very first time. The 23-year-old centre-back has been impressive at the start of the 2020/21 campaign with Augsburg, but what else do you need to know about the 2014 FIFA World Cup winners' latest defensive recruit?
bundesliga.com has the scoop on the left-footed centre-back who has scored against Borussia Dortmund this season...
Country: Germany (U21 cap)/Nigeria
Born in Annaberg-Buchholz, a town in Saxony near the Czech border, to a German mother and Nigerian father on 9 September 1997, Uduokhai - whose has two first names, with Ohis coming before Felix on his birth certificate - began his youth career with Erzgebirge Aue before progressing to 1860 Munich’s youth academy at the age of 11.
At 1860, with the first team floundering, Uduokhai was given his professional debut for the club in Bundesliga 2 in September 2016, aged just 19. The centre-back started and finished 19 of his 21 league appearances in his debut season, and his performances quickly caught the eye of Wolfsburg in the top tier.
Uduokhai then started nine of Wolfsburg's first 10 Bundesliga games in the 2017/18 season as he continued to progress quickly, and made his debut for the Germany U21 squad a year later alongside fellow senior call-ups Luca Waldschmidt, Benjamin Henrichs and Lukas Klostermann.
Out of favour with Bruno Labbadia in his second season at Wolfsburg, Uduokhai duly departed for Augsburg on loan in search of game time. Twenty-six appearances in the Bundesliga followed and earned him a permanent move from the Wolves in the summer. Having played every minute of Augsburg's impressive start to 2020/21 so far, Uduokhai has now been rewarded by becoming the fourth-ever Augsburg player to be called up to the German national team.
Plays a bit like: David Alaba
There are very few left-footed centre-backs at the highest level right now, and so Uduokhai is a rare gem in that sense. The Augsburg defender has also played at left-back and in defensive midfield during his career already, but his home is in the centre of defence. Comfortable with both feet, the 23-year-old lines up on the left side of Augsburg's central pairing to get the best use of his preferred foot. That's his key comparison to Bayern Munich's Alaba, as well as his comfort in playing out from the back.
What makes Uduokhai a little different is that he stands 6'2", making him a real presence at the back and at the other end of the pitch with his size and aerial ability. He scored his first Augsburg goal in the win over Dortmund with a powering header, one of the 21 aerial duels he has won this season to lead Augsburg. A sizeable left-footed defender who is as comfortable on the ball as he is at clearing it with his head - no wonder Joachim Löw wants a closer look.
Did you know?
Uduokhai is a devout Christian and goes to church on a Sunday when he does not have a game or training for Augsburg.
"Whenever I have the opportunity, I try to go to church and attend a service," Uduokhai told Spox. "Or I read the Bible in my quiet time. For me this is the solid foundation on which I stand. Everything else builds on this for me, I draw strength from it, get calm - and also joy. There are a few players in the U21 squad who are the same."
What they're saying
"He earned his call-up through very good performances in the Augsburg shirt, because he has made great progress since he joined us in summer 2019." - Augsburg Managing Director Stefan Reuter
"Felix Uduokhai has earned his nomination for the DFB team. We're really happy. I hope that he will play many international matches." - Augsburg head coach Heiko Herrlich
"We don't call-up anyone who we don’t trust can do it. We want to reward players like Hofmann, Neuhaus, Max or Uduokhai for their performances." - Germany head coach Joachim Löw
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