Ex-BVB talent before DFB U21 debut

    After ten games, the traditional club Sheffield United is comfortably at the top of the table in the English championship with 23 points. The fact that the “Blades” are currently five points ahead of third place in the play-offs is also thanks to the German U21 international Reda Khadra, who scored the 1-0 winner at Swansea City in the fourth minute of injury time after being substituted on on matchday 9 . “It was an incredible feeling,” the 21-year-old attacker recalled in an interview with Transfermarkt. “It’s always nice to score a goal, especially when it’s the decisive one and in injury time at that. I’m glad I could help the team. At the end of a season, points like this can be very valuable in retrospect.”

    Sheffield’s goal this season is to return to the Premier League after being relegated in 2021, a year behind. Khadra, who joined South Yorkshire on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion at the end of July, should also help. After a successful loan to Blackburn Rovers in 2021/22 – the former BVB youth player scored five goals and four assists in 28 games – the “Blades” are his second station in the English lower house. “The Championship is a very good starting point for growth. I also learned that through my year at Blackburn. Manager Paul Heckingbottom saw me twice in the league against Sheffield that year and was dying to have me. Despite many alternatives, I found this change to be the most sensible for me,” explains Khadra.

    In Brighton, which brought him from the Dortmund U19s in 2020, Khadra is still under contract until the end of the season – in contrast to German football, a loan transfer is still possible in English. How things will continue with the “Seagulls”, where head coach Graham Potter recently switched to Chelsea and was replaced by the Italian Roberto De Zerbi – the right-footer is not yet concerned about that, but has the clear goal of being in the Premier League To show ability: “First of all, my head is on the current season. I play for Sheffield and that’s the focus. I want to help to make the ascension firm, what comes after that remains to be seen. I will show my strengths and prove that I am ready for the Premier League.”

    © imago – Reda Khadra celebrates after his debut goal with preparer Rhian Brewster (r.)

    Khadra says he gets a lot of confidence from coach Heckingbottom, who has brought him on four times as a substitute and twice in the starting XI this season. The 45-year-old, who has been in office since March 2021, wants to “develop him into a top performer in the long term. We are on a good way. A few minor failures and the lack of preparation with the team held me back a bit, but the season is still young and things are going very well for us at the moment.”

    He still needs some time, says Khadra realistically – in addition, there is competition in the team with top scorer Iliman Ndiaye (22), James McAtee (19) on loan from Man City or striker Rhian Brewster (22, error corrected – here it was initially 25) and Oliver McBurnie (26) not exactly small: “There is healthy competition between us. It was no different at Blackburn last year, but that doesn’t matter to me – I trust in my qualities and will pave my way.” As long as he is “there when I’m needed and especially in games where little goes, I can prove again and again that I can make the difference.”

    © imago - Sheffield coach Paul Heckingbottom congratulates Reda Khadra after his winning goal against Swansea

    © imago – Sheffield coach Paul Heckingbottom congratulates Reda Khadra after his winning goal against Swansea

    Sheffield United’s Reda Khadra about to debut in the German U21 national team

    That could also apply to the Germany U21 national team in the coming days, where Khadra is about to make his debut in the friendlies against France (Thursday, 6.15 p.m.) and England (Tuesday, 8.45 p.m.). “It’s obviously a special thing for every footballer. It’s always a wonderful feeling to be invited by the German national team to this select circle – I’m really incredibly proud of it.” “They all enable us to provide extremely high-quality training.”


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    He had already been nominated in the spring, but then dropped out at short notice with calf problems – he still traveled to the team at the time: “It was very bitter, but that’s football. Coach Antonio Di Salvo and the entire team gave me a warm welcome and we had great conversations. He was very open with me and made me feel good – that helped me a lot during this phase. I continued to give everything in the league and knew: If I keep going like this, I will get my next chance.

    For this, Khadra now wants to “go full throttle and prove that I deserve it when I come on the pitch. This is the first time since the U18 that I can wear the jersey of the German national team again and I am very grateful to the coach and the team to get this chance,” says Khadra about it.

    He already feels that he has arrived in the team – also because Khadra, in Ansgar Knauff and Youssoufa Moukoko, has known two teammates from the days in Dortmund’s youth for a long time: “And I’m also very well networked with a few others through my youth. These are all great guys – humanly and playfully. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again – it’s like a family coming together.”

    Interview: Marius Soyke

    Thiaw, Netz & Co.: The German U21 squad for the friendlies in September

    Goal: Nico Mantl (Red Bull Salzburg)

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    Goal: Christian Früchtl (Austria Vienna)

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    Goal: Noah Atubolu (SC Freiburg)

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    Defense: Kilian Fischer (VfL Wolfsburg)

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    Defense: Noah Katterbach (FC Basel)

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    Defense: Malick Thiaw (AC Milan)

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    Defense: Maximilian Bauer (FC Augsburg)

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    Defense: Marton Dardai (Hertha BSC)

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    Defence: Yann Aurel Bisseck (Aarhus GF)

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    Defence: Jordan Beyer (Burnley)

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    Defense: Luca Netz (Gladbach)

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    Defense: Frederik Jakel (Arminia Bielefeld)

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    Midfield/attack: Tom Krauss (Schalke 04)

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    Midfield/attack: Ansgar Knauff (Frankfurt)

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    Midfield/attack: Angelo Stiller (TSG Hoffenheim)

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    Midfield/Attack: Reda Khadra (Sheffield United)

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    Midfield/attack: Felix Nmecha (VfL Wolfsburg)

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    Midfield/attack: Youssoufa Moukoko (BVB)

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    Midfield/attack: Yannik Keitel (SC Freiburg)

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    Midfield/attack: Eric Martel (1. FC Köln)

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    Midfield/attack: Jan Thielmann (1. FC Köln)

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    Midfield/attack: Jamie Leweling (Union Berlin)

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    Midfield/Attack: Lazar Samardzic (Udinese Calcio)

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    Midfield/Attack: Faride Alidou (Frankfurt)

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