Holtmann eager to honor his mother in Azkal’s debut against Mongolia
Gerrit Holtmann will finally suit up for the Philippine Azkals and he himself is eager to help the country qualify for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
The 27-year-old VFL Bochum winger took part in a virtual media presser on Friday afternoon, where his comments were translated into English by his agent David Webb.
Holtmann is looking forward to playing for coach Thomas Dooley’s side after a long wait and hopes he can make a crucial contribution in the final third of the pitch.
“He is extremely honored to play for the Philippines now. He made the decision six years ago, but the problem was that he was not a regular starter in the Bundesliga and he was very young. Him, above all , wanted to become a regular Bundesliga player, regular starter before making all those trips,said Webb.
“Now that he’s become a regular player in the Bundesliga, he’s spoken a lot with his mother who, of course, is very keen on him playing for the national team. So now everyone together has made the decision … They wanted him to start playing for the Philippines,” He continued.
“Actually he already wanted to play two years ago but with COVID it was impossible.”
The 6ft 1in German Bundesliga star looks like many Azkals who trace their Filipino lineage to one of their parents. His mother, Rosemarie, is a Filipino born and he is thrilled to play for the Azkals to honor her and his Filipino roots.
Rosemarie, like any Filipino mother, has given her son advice on how to handle things while he is on an international mission. It is true that it is something that he kept in mind.
“Obviously the mother is very happy and very honored that he is playing for the Philippines. In fact, a few years ago when he decided to play for the Philippines, he told her on the phone. He didn’t didn’t really see the reaction. said Webb.
“A few days ago he got married and it was two days before leaving for the Philippines’ first game and there she was really, really happy and told him what to eat and what not to eat because obviously, she is more experienced in Asian countries.She is very excited and I think she will enjoy the game tomorrow.
It is never easy to integrate into a new team. There will always be growing pains not only for the player but also for his teammates.
Fortunately for Holtmann, the Ott brothers, Oliver Bias and Patrick Reichelt are part of the team at the moment and can speak the same language as him.
Time is running out and the sooner Holtmann takes ownership of the Azkals’ current culture, the better for the team.
“The integration process was really easy because there are a lot of German-speaking players. Unfortunately, two are missing with Patrick Strauss and Raphaël Obermair but most of the others, he says, it’s easier to speak English with a teammate rather than with the media. said Webb. “They made it really easy for him. They’re all nice guys. They met at breakfast when he landed. Everything was really nice and easy.
“Of course he knows what these games mean to the fans. But he said it was not a one-man show. He needs his teammates and obviously the teammates need him.
Holtmann admitted that people who were struck by his presence was something very new to him. It’s not every day that people get to interact with a German Bundesliga player and it’s something he’s getting used to.
The lack of preparation time with the rest of the squad doesn’t help but it’s something he and his teammates are trying to mitigate. The pressure to deliver instant impact is high but he will give his all for the shirt.
“He will try everything to win both matches of course but he asks the fans to be patient with him as he has only had two training sessions now with the team and had a break in the Bundesliga season. ,said Webb.
“But he will promise that the team will do everything to win the next games and Gerrit is confident that they will win the next game against Mongolia.”
Holtmann remains calm on the eve of his international debut. He knows it’s a game to be won and expectations are high. However, he knows very well what he can do and he plans to do his best.
“He’s not nervous but positively excited to play for the Philippines. He said he’s honored to play for his mother’s country team. Philippines, he knows what the upcoming games mean for you. said Webb.
“As a player he can put all his skills and attributes into tomorrow’s game. He is really very fast. He is good in crosses and good in goals. He will do his best to show all his skills tomorrow .
If the Azkals want to get their Asian Cup dreams back on track, only a win against Mongolia will be enough. Everyone is hoping Holtmann’s long-awaited arrival will bring a big boost and the player himself is determined to make a difference.