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Podolski eyes starting place

Germany forward Lukas Podolski is unhappy with his role as a substitute for his country and hopes to earn a starting spot.

Podolski came on as a replacement for the injured Julian Draxler after just 19 minutes in the 3-0 win over Kazakhstan on Friday, earning his 108th cap.

Speaking to Bild am Sonntag, the 27-year-old said he was unsurprised to be on the bench in Astana but would like to use it as a platform to once again become a regular for coach Joachim Loew.

“I’ve been training hard the last three weeks but missed the last game with Arsenal,” the former Cologne forward said.

“Therefore I was quite clear that I would only sit on the bench. I talked before the game with the national team coach. That was all OK.

“Of course I want to play forever, but I have witnessed so much with the national team – some unique moments. I now have 108 caps.

“And even if I’m now on bench then it is no big deal for me because it is also clear the World Cup in Brazil will not start on Tuesday in Nuremberg against Kazakhstan. And my goal is to be at the World Cup, but first we have to qualify and win on Tuesday.”

Podolski has scored eight goals in 25 English Premier League games for Arsenal this season and is optimistic about his chances of representing Germany at the next World Cup, a major tournament he concedes could be his last.

“It would be my third World Cup,” he said.

“I’ll be 29 years old and as you go towards 30, you have to look at how you feel, what thoughts you have after such a tournament. And then things will decide for themselves what is right.

“But basically, I have the goal to play as long as possible.”

Sun 24 March, 2013
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