David Raum is set to take part in a World Cup for the first time, and in the build-up to the tournament, he revealed that he considered quitting football a few years ago, and also spoke of the time he accidentally rejected the call of Germany national team manager Hansi Flick.
Raum was speaking as part of a new Warner Bros. Discovery series, World at their Feet.
The 24-year-old, who was born in Nuremberg and moved to the youth team of SpVgg Greuther Furth at the age of seven, made his professional debut in 2017 in a 2-1 defeat against 1860 Munich at the age of 18, and the youngster soon became a regular.
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“I was able to gain a lot of experience at a young age, I was on the pitch a lot,” he said in the interview.
“Offers came from the Bundesliga. I listened to them, but decided I wanted to give myself another year at Greuther in the second division.”
The following year, however, he found himself on the bench. “I only had five starts,” explained the now 24-year-old. “That was very difficult.”
At the time, Raum began to “look for the faults in others”, adding that it “led to me no longer concentrating on myself”. The situation led him to even consider quitting football altogether.
“There came a moment when I considered that I could go out on loan or change my direction completely if football didn’t work out. That was the worst moment in my career.”
After Stefan Leitl took over the reins at the Kleeblatter in February 2019, Raum’s situation improved, with the new coach converting the forward into a left-back.
“Stefan Leitl kept trying to convince me that this position would suit me,” says Raum.
“I was taught the situation and started to understand that you are only responsible for your own luck. I developed a new mindset, worked on myself and accepted the position. That helped me get out of my emotional slump.”
Raum produced 15 assists, and was crucial in Furth’s second-ever promotion to the Bundesliga. It was “the perfect conclusion” to his time there, Raum says.
In the summer of 2021, he moved to TSG Hoffenheim. Raum was a key player immediately, contributing 13 assists in 32 games. His performances caught the eye of national team manager, Hansi Flick, who called him up – or attempted to – a few months after the transfer.
“I was sitting in the dressing room on a Thursday morning when suddenly my phone rang,” he recalled.
“I didn’t know the number and thought, ‘nah, I’m not answering it now’. I clicked reject call. Right after that a text message arrived, my mobile almost fell out of my hand. ‘Hello, Hansi Flick here – please call me back’.”
Since then, Raum has played in 11 international matches – almost always from the start and has now been selected for the World Cup squad. “I will give everything for my country and hope that people will be happy when we are successful,” he concluded.
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