Ascona - Germany veteran Lukas Podolski was left fuming on
Wednesday having been dubbed the 'mascot' of die Mannschaft in some quarters
due to his dearth of recent appearances for the world champions.
Podolski, who turns 31 on Saturday, has made 127 appearance
for Germany, scoring 48 goals, in more than a decade. This will be his fourth
European championships, having also played at three World Cups.
But he was last a first-choice starter for Germany four
years ago at Euro 2012 and only played in two group stage matches when Joachim
Loew's side won the 2014 World Cup.
The forward's lack of game time in Germany's famous white
shirt has seen him dubbed 'mascot' on social media by some fans, a term he
"I think it's totally disrespectful! I have played over
100 internationals and I don't deserve (to be called) that," he said on
Wednesday at Germany's pre-Euro 2016 training camp in Ascona, Switzerland.
"I can understand any discussion about me as a person,
only 'mascot' has no part in that.
"It's outrageous to call me that."
Also read: 'Too old' Podolski confident of Euro berth
After spells at Bayern Munich, Cologne, Arsenal and Inter
Milan in recent years, Podolski joins the Germany camp in rich form having
scored the winning goal for Galatasaray in the Turkish Cup final last Thursday.
Last season, he netted 17 goals with nine assists for his
"I had a good season in Turkey with a lot of goals and
assists, plus the cup win to crown it off," he said.
"I've joined the (German) team in top form and can help
the team with my experience of playing at seven tournaments."
Podolski is just one short of matching Jurgen Klinsmann's
Germany record of five goals scored at European championships' finals.
But his last international over 90 minutes was in November 2014
-- against minnows Gibraltar -- and since then he played a grand total of 115
minutes in ten games, mainly off the bench.
He currently has other things to worry about other than
playing at Euro 2016 when Germany start their Group C campaign on June 12
against Ukraine in Lille.
His wife Monika is expecting the couple's second child and
Podolski has permission to leave the training camp at short notice to join his
wife in Cologne for the birth.
"I'm waiting all the time for her call, then I'll fly
straight away," he added.For
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