Beckenbauer calls for Lehmann exit

German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer wants goalkeeper Jens Lehmann to step down and make way for younger players.

updated: June 15, 2008 17:58 IST
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Franz Beckenbauer has called for Jens Lehmann to cede his position as Germany goalkeeper after Euro-2008 in order to give younger players a chance.

According to Deutsche Welle's report Monday, the German soccer monarch hailed the ongoing European Championship at Switzerland and Austria as a perfect opportunity for Lehmann, 38, to step aside from national duties to make room for the country's up-and-coming prospects.

"Such a tournament is always an opportunity to quit and to allow a new era to start," said Beckenbauer. "I would tell Jens to retire after Euro to give younger men a chance to play."

Lehmann has been Germany's first choice goalie since 2006 when he assumed the mantle from Oliver Kahn.

Standing in Lehmann's shadow are Hanover's Robert Enke, 30, and Bayer Leverkusen's Rene Adler, 23, who are both members of Germany's current Euro squad.

Analysts have touted Adler, finishing fifth in Bundesliga 2007-08 player of the year awards, as the most promising German keeper in the Bundesliga and a likely heir to the No. 1 jersey. Lehmann has not yet spoken about his national team future after this year's Euro.