Germany’s breakout star whose game is like Andy Robertson

Not many things last forever, which is why an ex’s name is reportedly the most commonly removed tattoo off of ones body. The latest ink on David Raum’s chest, a Christmas present to himself, does appear pretty future-proof, or one hopes, but you can also check out the latest soccer betting odds to see if it really is forever.

Whatever might happen in years to come, the 24-year-old is and will be "Living the Dream": a football fairytale, going from a Bundesliga 2 squad player to one of Europe’s most effective full-backs within a couple of years.

Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with England in Munich offered yet more proof of the Franconian’s rapid rise. Starting against top-level opposition in competitive international football for the first time, Raum was one of the best players on the pitch alongside Ilkay Gundogan and Jamal Musiala, effectively curbing the attacking instincts of Bukayo Saka and providing a constant crossing threat wide on the left side.

His dynamic performance was impressive enough to offer a tantalizing prospect: at this autumn’s World Cup, Germany could field their first doubly-proficient left-back since Philipp Lahm switched flanks in 2010.

If that seems like an exaggeration, consider the dearth of options in the national team’s biggest problem position. At best, Joachim Low was able to field defensively solid but offensively guileless players such as Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich, 2012), repurposed centre-back Benedikt Howedes (Schalke, 2014) and Cologne stalwart Jonas Hector (2016 and 2018), or wing-back Robin Gosens (then Atalanta), the last of whom necessitated an-ill fated system change to three at the back at last year’s Euros.

Hansi Flick, too, has been forced to improvise since taking charge 10 months ago, casting right-footed Thilo Kehrer (Paris Saint-Germain) and Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Monchengladbach), a wide forward by trade, on the "wrong" side.

Raum is a different breed. Naturally left-sided and attacking-minded, he tried his hand in a variety of forward roles at second-division Greuther Furth without ever really convincing.

There was talk of him going to a third-division club to get some regular game time in 2019, and he only became a starter after Stefan Leitl’s assistant coach Andre Mijatovic had painstakingly re-educated him to play as a left-back.

"Mijatovic is a defensive expert who explained the back line’s movement and one-vs-ones to me," Raum said. Crucially, he proved eager to learn.

"David might look like a tough guy from the streets, but he’s actually very calm, very considered, open to new ideas and always willing to listen to good advice."