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Howedes backed for Germany role

Schalke chief Clemens Tonnies has urged Germany coach Joachim Low to call upon more players from his in-form Bundesliga side, citing Benedikt Howedes as the "best centre back in the country".

Schalke have enjoyed an impressive start to the season, with the club second in the table after winning six of their opening nine matches, while on Tuesday they advanced to the next round of the DFB-Pokal with a 3-0 win over SV Sandhausen.

Tonnies rates the likes of defender Howedes highly, and has urged Low to utilise him on a more regular basis after he was an unused substitute in the recent 4-4 draw with Sweden.

Tonnies told Audi Star Talk: "Certainly, he can't only field Schalke players now. But I'd prefer a healthy mix. I have to clearly say that.

"I believe Benedikt was indeed missing in that Sweden match. He sits on the bench, he strives. He is a great guy. I would be happy for him. He is the best centre back we have in Germany."

Reflecting on Tonnies' praise, Howedes said: "I am very pleased to hear what Tonnies said about me. I also believe that currently I am playing for football on a very high level.

"That's why I am pleased about playing tonight (in the 3-0 win over SV Sandhausen). I told the coach, I want to play, to maintain my rhythm."

Schalke general manager Horst Heldt added: "I would wish that our players are called up. It is about being called upon on merit, which is important in our society, and also in sport."

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