Having experienced a baptism of fire on his Bundesliga debut in 2017/18 – going up against none other than Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben – there is nothing left that could possibly faze Gian-Luca Itter as he seeks to establish himself in the Wolfsburg first team. bundesliga.com has the scoop on the Germany youth international.
Gian-Luca Itter— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) 20 July 2018
If you can keep Arjen Robben in check and help your side to an unlikely draw away to Bayern on your #Bundesliga debut, your future is very, very bright ⭐ #BundesligaYouth pic.twitter.com/G1oqjehT2p
Having amassed 10 assists in 22 Wolfsburg U19 games in 2016/17, Itter was perfectly primed for his first-team opportunity to come in the next season. A spate of injuries forced then-Wolfsburg head coach Martin Schmidt to throw Itter in at the deep end on Matchday 6 last season, giving him his maiden Bundesliga outing away to none other than Bayern. 'Luca', as he is known, acquitted himself brilliantly - winning the second-highest amount of tackles (11) of any team-mates in that game, while only five players on the pitch covered more than his 6.76 miles. He then played in the reverse fixture at the Allianz Arena later on in the season as part of the Wolves' team which claimed a famous win. Overall he played a total of 414 minutes in the Bundesliga in 2017/18, spread across five games.
Plays a bit like: David Alaba
Having idolised Alaba in his formative years, it's no surprise that Itter also modelled his game on the Bayern left-back. As a defender, his first duty is to keep things tight at the back and, having won a whopping 67 per cent of his aerial challenges in 2017/18, there is no doubt about his ability in that regard. Like Alaba though, Itter also poses a threat going forward and his pace and pinpoint crosses from the left are a handy weapon in Wolfsburg's arsenal, as shown in the assists his gathered the season-before-last.
Did you know?
In 2016, Itter – whose twin brother Davide is also on the books at Wolfsburg - won the Fritz-Walter gold medal in the U17 category as the best young player in his age group in Germany. Previous recipients of the prestigious award include full Germany internationals Benedikt Höwedes (2008), Toni Kroos (2009), Mario Götze (2010) and Antonio Rüdiger (2013). Not bad, as omens go.
What they're saying
"I want to improve day by day and keep getting better so that at some point I can get to the stage where I can make an impact as a professional." - Itter
"I think the kid's just amazing!" - Maximilian Arnold
"It's not easy to make your debut as an 18-year-old against Bayern Munich, but he did really well." - Yunus Malli