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Name: Jerome Boateng
Club: Hamburger SV
Debut: 31/01/07 Hertha BSC Berlin v Hannover 96 (Bundesliga)
Date of birth: 03/09/88
Appearances can be deceiving. Despite his relaxed style on the field, Boateng is as fearsome in the challenge as he is potent in the air. His calmness makes him an excellent reader of the game and the imposing defender has been a shining light in a Hamburg side that went so far in the UEFA Europa League this season.
Boateng first broke through alongside his elder brother Kevin-Prince at Hertha and speculation suggests he could be following him to the Premier League this summer after a commanding campaign at HSV. He joined the club for the 2007/08 season and appeared in 27 Bundesliga matches that term, his ability to play in the centre or at right-back serving him well.
The imposing 192cm defender was a key member of the Germany side that won the 2009 UEFA Under-21 European Championship, receiving plaudits for his powerful displays at the heart of coach Horst Hrubesch's back line.
A senior call-up duly followed though it will be remembered for the wrong reasons as the defender became the first German debutant to be sent off in the crucial 1-0 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying victory against Russia on 10 October 2009. Boateng is hoping to put that right as a first-choice member of the national side in South Africa this summer, where he could come up against his brother when Germany play Ghana.
Germany 1-1 England
22/06/09 UEFA European Under-21 Championship
Having made a name for himself as one of the most promising young defenders in the Bundesliga, Boateng showed his potential on the international stage by helping Germany win the 2009 U21 title. Against England in the group stage he showed both sides of his game. He was solid at the heart of Germany's defence alongside Benedikt Höwedes and creative at other end, threading the sublime through ball for Gonzalo Castro in the build-up to Germany's goal.
"My priority is continuing to produce good performances for HSV before I start thinking about the World Cup squad."
I know I can come across as a bit laid back sometimes, but it's not on purpose. It's just the way I play. Perhaps I could concentrate a bit more but I'm working on that and I think I've improved this season."
Jerome Boateng speaking in January 2010
"Jerome has one big advantage, and you see it when you look at him, he is physically very strong.
He has everything you need for a top central defender: he is tall, good in the air, very fast, and has the necessary technique to play balls forward. He satisfies all the conditions. And I don't think it's something that fell from the sky – he has made his way. He has handled this situation very well. Also the way he acted after winning the Under-21 EURO and also during his development now. Here and there he is still a bit emotional, but when he manages to control that he definitely has a great future in front of him."
HSV striker Mladen Petrić speaking to UEFA.com this month
"He made a great impression at the European Under-21 Championship. Therefore, it is only logical he should take the next step with the national team. One of his strengths is that he is very versatile in defence and he has a lot of potential."
Germany coach Joachim Löw ahead of Boateng's senior international debut in October 2009
"Jerome is my favourite player because I've been working with him for many years. His brother was in the team back then. I said to him, 'Listen, I've found someone who's even better than you.' 'Who?' he replied. 'Your brother.'
Since the very first time I saw Jerome I was certain he would become a full international. I'd have bet anything on it."
Horst Hrubesch, Germany's U21 Championship winning coach
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