At just 17 years old, Jamal Musiala is already making a name for himself.
The teenager became Bayern Munich’s youngest ever Bundesliga player when he made his league debut from the bench against Freiburg in June, before becoming the club’s youngest ever scorer when he found the net in Die Roten’s 8-0 demolition of Schalke in September.
Such is the regard he is held in, Musiala has already been the centre of an international representation tug of war. Born in Germany to German and Nigerian parents, the midfielder spent much of his childhood in England, having moved to London at the age of seven.
England appears to be his number one choice at the moment, and Musiala donned the Three Lions jersey during the recent international break, scoring on his full debut for the Under-21s.
The former Chelsea academy product ticked off another milestone on Saturday as he made his maiden Bundesliga start during Bayern’s 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen.
Musiala had already made five substitute cameos in the league for the German champions this season, scoring two goals despite spending just 81 minutes on the pitch.
Having predominantly been deployed on the left wing during his previous league outings this season, he started as the most advanced member of a midfield three alongside Thomas Muller and Javi Martinez against Werder. Leon Goretzka came on to play the more defensive role after 18 minutes, with Martinez dropping into defence following an injury to centre back Lucas Hernandez.
Although Bayern were not at their best as they stuttered to a 1-1 draw, it was an assured, mature performance from Musiala.
The midfielder had a nervous opening few minutes, with his passing erratic at times. But once he settled into the game, Musiala did not look off the pace or out of his depth. He slotted seamlessly into the Bayern midfield, and Die Roten looked at their most dangerous when the youngster was combining with Robert Lewandowski on the edge of the Werder box.
His attacking midfield role meant the former Chelsea youngster was often in the thick of the action going forward. His marauding surge forward in the first half could only be halted by a lunging boot of Leonardo Bittencourt, the Werder Bremen midfielder going into the book after scything him down.
Musiala was in the Werder box to collect Douglas Costa’s teasing cross that had been tipped into his path, but his goal bound effort was blocked.
He combined well again with Lewandowski on the stroke of halftime, playing a one-two with the Poland international and racing onto his cute flick, but again his low effort was deflected wide for a corner.
It was the deft touches and clever, instinctive flashes of movement where Musiala really shone. There was an intelligent dummy on the edge of the box after nine minutes, and another just before the half hour mark to allow the ball to run through to Lewandowski. The no touch turn he produced in the first half to escape the clutches of Maximilian Eggestein was sublime.
This was where Musiala was at his best – when he and Bayern moved the ball quickly, shortly and sharply; when it was natural, effortless and instinctive. He was caught dithering on the ball on a couple of occasions when the team were being more patient – when he almost had too much time – and was robbed of possession.
Musiala was substituted after 63 minutes, with another milestone checked off for a very talented individual, and on this evidence, the sky remains his limit.