Germany's teenage sensation Jamal Musiala has credited his time in England's youth system for helping him develop the creative game that has quickly turned him into one of football's rising stars.
Following a stellar start to 2022/23 with Bayern Munich - for whom he has scored nine goals and delivered six assists since August - the 19-year-old is expected to be Germany's conductor in attack, operating between central midfield and the front line.
His pace, passing, creative play and scoring ability have quickly drawn comparisons with other big names, with former Germany captain Lothar Matthaus even drawing parallels to Argentina great Lionel Messi.
"A comparison with Messi is something like an honour," Musiala said.
"He has played at the top level for so long and to be compared with him is a bit difficult. I just focus on me and what I can do better as Jamal."
Few would have thought just two years ago that Musiala, with his slight frame and an innocent demeanour that earned him the nickname 'Bambi' would become one of the key Germany players for the 2022 World Cup.
Musiala cut his teeth in England as a youngster, running through the national youth system all the way to the under-21s before opting to play for his country of birth, dealing a blow to coach Gareth Southgate's senior team.
He has, however, been carrying one piece of advice he got from his English coaches that has helped him become the player he is today.
"In England you learn different things than in Germany," he said.
"I took a lot with me. They used to say, 'Play with freedom'.
"This is something I took with me in my career and this will remain with me."
He will have a chance to show his precocious skills on the biggest stage on Wednesday (12am Thursday AEDT), when the Germans kick off their Group E campaign against a Japan side which finished ahead of Australia in AFC qualifying to clinch an automatic spot at the Qatar tournament.
They also play Spain and Costa Rica and are eager to make amends for their shock group-stage exit in 2018, when they finished bottom of a pool including Sweden, Mexico and South Korea.
"We have the quality to go far in this tournament," Musiala said.
"We all go in with the mindset that we can win the title. We are well prepared and raring to go."
Meanwhile, winger Leroy Sane has suffered a knee injury and will miss the Japan clash, the team confirmed.
The 26-year-old did not take part in their final training session in northern Qatar ahead of Wednesday's game in Doha and it was unclear how long he would be sidelined.
Four-times champions Germany, who suffered a shock first-round exit at the 2018 World Cup, also had striker Niclas Fuellkrug out for a few days with the flu but he has since returned to training.