Holtby growing up fast with Germany U21s

"The two years I have been captain with the U21s have pushed me to improve," Lewis Holtby told UEFA.com as Germany prepare for the UEFA European U21 Championship draw.

Having inspired Germany to the finals of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, which his side last won in 2009, FC Schalke 04 midfielder Lewis Holtby told UEFA.com that he has grown in stature through his work with the team.

"The two years that I have been captain with the U21s have pushed me to improve," he said. "I feel confident because I realise that the responsibility does me good. I was never a guy who sat in the corner a lot and who said 'yes' to everything. I always wanted to have a say too, and I wanted to be there in the team, and I became more confident. I know I'm not Mr Perfect, but who is?"

With the draw bringing next summer's final tournament into focus a little more, Holtby knows that Germany have a great side, and that the door to the senior side could soon open wide for him and his team-mates. "There is continuous contact with Joachim Löw, the national team coach," he said. "That shows that we are not forgotten, and that we are all taken into account. If you look at the average age of the senior national team, then it is not only a dream, it can become reality."