Likened to Lionel Messi, attacking midfielder Sebastian Tyrała has bucked a trend by electing to play for Poland despite representing Germany at various youth levels, telling uefa.com: "I never forgot about my roots."
While Polish-born Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose and Piotr Trochowski all created a stir in the land of their birth by choosing to play international football for Germany, 20-year-old BV Borussia Dortmund player Tyrała, who played for Germany at both Under-17 and U19 levels, has decided to go back to his roots to play for Poland. "I am very happy and proud of myself that I decided to play for Poland," he told uefa.com. "Even when I played for the Germany youth teams, I thought more about Poland because it is my real homeland."
Like Podolski, Klose and Trochowski, Tyrała moved to Germany as a child as his parents moved west in search of work. He explained: "I was born in Poland, in Raciborz, but when my family moved to Germany when I was 18 months old. That is why I started my football career there." Tyrała started playing for Dortmund as a ten-year-old, and quickly came to the attention of the German youth team selectors, but despite being a prolific scorer at U17 and U19 level, he elected not to play for the U21s, knowing that to do so would bar him from playing for Poland. "Even though I left Poland very young, I never forgot about my roots," he said. "I have always been a Pole at heart and that is why I finally decided to represent this country."
The opportunity to do that finally arose this December, as national team coach Leo Beenhakker invited him to attend a training camp on Turkey. He duly made his international debut in an unofficial friendly game on 14 December, with his side winning 1-0 against Serbia. "I could not believe it when I heard Mr Beenhakker invited me to the camp in Turkey," he admitted. "I had to check that it was not a joke."
'Eager to learn'
Such good news has been against the run of play for Tyrała whose career has been hampered by a serious knee ligament injury suffered in 2006, since when he has found first-team opportunities at Dortmund hard to come by. He may yet be tempted to move back to Poland to resolve that situation, with Arka Gdynia interested in signing him, and the prospect of more international football has put the wind in his sails. "My first match for Poland is something I will never forget," he said. "And even though I do not know the words of the Polish national anthem yet, I am eager to learn it."
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