Joshua Kimmich has spoken to France Football about the inspirations behind his career. - 2018 DFL
Joshua Kimmich has spoken to France Football about the inspirations behind his career. - 2018 DFL
bundesliga

Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich cites Pep Guardiola, Xabi Alonso and Philipp Lahm as inspirations.

Bayern Munich and Germany full-back Joshua Kimmich has named Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso as his two greatest inspirations, while thanking Pep Guardiola for launching his career.

Kimmich, 24, has made over 150 appearances for the record champions after being handed his debut by Guardiola in 2015. The Catalan coach placed his faith in the then 21-year-old as a central defender shortage struck ahead of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie with Juventus, and he responded with uncanny maturity with man-of-the-match performances catapulting his name around Europe.

Now considered one of European football's best full-backs, Kimmich has told France Football how he has got there, and who has had the greatest influence over his career.

"With Pep, I loved every training session," he said. "He's a perfectionist who's always worried about the details, and who leaves nothing to chance. His sessions were incredibly intense. He loves beautiful football and on a personal level, he played me in different positions to make me a versatile footballer.

Pep Guardiola (r.) was a "perfectionist" who helped bring the very best out of Kimmich – in a variety of positions. - 2015 Getty Images

"Before I first met him [while playing for Leipzig], Pep had analysed me from A to Z, and when he spoke to me about my game and my state of mind, I could see myself 100% in what he was saying. He assured me that he wouldn't field me just to make up the numbers, but that I would get a chance and he counted on me. Without that talk, I wouldn't have joined [Bayern]."

Guardiola saw in the defensive midfielder the talent to play both at the centre of the defence and as a full-back. He has since occupied all positions for Bayern, although he openly admits that the middle of the park is his favourite, thanks to his role model Xabi Alonso.

"He was truly special in the way he played; his crosses were of a surgical precision, and I was always impressed," Kimmich said. "He was a real source of inspiration.

"The way he read the game was incredible. I was flattered to be his team-mate. He's without doubt the best player I ever played with. Xabi was the perfect player in Guardiola's system. He always knew who he was going to pass to before he even received the ball. He was the brains of the team."

Joshua Kimmich was "flattered" to be able to play alongside and learn from Xabi Alonso. - 2015 Getty Images

Bayern now have Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez in the Alonso role, with Kimmich an alternative which has been used by Niko Kovac, even if his habitual position for club and country is as right full-back.

There, he fills the boots of another of his inspirations; a man who made history both with Bayern and Germany, winning the World Cup in 2014.

"His consistency was incredible," Kimmich said of Lahm. "You could count his bad games on one hand. I would like to commit as few mistakes as he did, whether it's in terms of positioning, anticipation, clearances, and to be as intelligent on the field.

"It's on that level that he is a source of inspiration, with his ability to make the right decision between managing a situation or taking risks. That's what he knew best, but it's also the most complicated to do and to keep doing. He's a Bayern legend, and one of German football. To be considered as such, you need to have been convincing on the highest level over many years."

Joshua Kimmich is now more than just following in the footsteps of Philipp Lahm. - 2016 Getty Images

Kimmich is heading in the right direction and, with three Bundesliga titles already to his name, he has not lost his hunger for more.

"Our determination to win is still intact," he said. "With Kovac, who has all the qualities you need to be successful in the long-term, Bayern are still going to be a force to be reckoned with in years to come."

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