Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender is backing team-mate Sidney Sam to transfer his club form to international level.
Playmaker Sam is a man in form at the moment, having almost single-handedly dispatched of Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend.
The 25-year-old scored either side of the break to take his season’s tally to five goals in four games, before teeing up Gonzalo Castro to score the fourth in a 4-2 win.
Sam’s form has already caught the eye of national coach Joachim Low, who handed the midfielder his international debut as part of the trip to America in May and June, playing him against both Ecuador and then the United States.
And ahead of Low’s latest squad announcement for the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifier against Austria next month, Bender has been singing his team-mates praises.
“I think Sidney Sam proved again this weekend what a big step he has taken, not only in the past few games but also in the first division in general,” he said.
“And I think his call-up to the national squad for the trip to America towards the end of the last season wasn’t in vain.
“He played a really good second (half of the season) last year and has kept doing well ever since and I wouldn’t begrudge him his success if he became (a regular) part of the national squad.”
Having won their first three games of the new Bundesliga season, Leverkusen will go in search of a fourth when they meet Schalke this weekend.
Traditionally slow starters, Sami Hyypia’s side have found their form early this campaign, although Bender is urging them not to become complacent.
“What’s important is that we maintain our form from these opening weeks,” he added.
“If we secure four wins then that is certainly a reason to gain some confidence, but we have to carry on and if we can’t manage to follow that up, then this excellent start won’t matter much in the end.
“We want to continue winning and obtaining three points; starting with Schalke.”