Mustafa Amini recently spoke to The World Game about his omission from the U20 World Cup in Turkey:
“My fitness is fine. I played 81 minutes of our match against the Netherlands Under-21s (a 3-1 loss on 25 May) and I think I was one of our better players.
“I got 40 minutes in our 2-2 draw against Germany (1 June in Cyprus) and I was dreaming about being a part of our World Cup campaign.
“I put off my holidays to be a part of this and I am really disappointed and surprised not to have been picked. The message I got from Paul Okon was that I wasn’t fit enough – but that’s not the case.
“When Paul Okon called me to say he wasn’t going to take me it was a huge blow – I felt sick in the stomach. I honestly don’t really understand why I wasn’t selected.
“There was a thing about my fitness. I had a blood test after not sleeping for the best part of two days following the Holland match, because I was part of the Dortmund party which went to Wembley for the European Champions League final the next day, and it was full on for 48 hours.
“Then I flew to Cyprus (to link up with the Young Socceroos) and had the test. Of course after not sleeping for two days my blood won’t be the same as everybody elses and that was the excuse I was given.
“Paul Okon also mentioned my skin fold tests, but I am an on different program at Dortmund where you bulk up then you trim down afterwards.
“I proved my fitness in that Holland game. We had a week in Cyprus after that and I did well when I came on against Germany, so fitness-wise there were no issues at all.”
Amini on his lack of game time at the back end of last season: “It’s a professional league with crowds of 10,000 sometimes and you have first teamers who have played with us throughout the year. It’s not easy just to come in from Australia and break through.
“Jurgen Klopp (Dortmund coach) has told me personally just to keep working hard and I will go back soon and be fresh for pre-season and ready to go.
“A lot of the players who were keeping me out are over 23 now and will move on and now my chance will come to get more game time and hopefully push on towards the first team at some stage.
“But everybody knows that Dortmund’s first team is one of the best in the world, so of course it’s a big challenge for me.”
Amini’s featured 14 times for Dortmund II in the third tier of German football in his debut season in 2012-2103 and has 23 Young Socceroos caps. He bursted onto the international scene at the U-20 World Cup in Colombia two years ago.
“Back then I was younger than a lot of the boys but this time I thought I was more than ready and determined to make an impression in Turkey and show people what I can do on a big stage,” he added.
“I have been part of the system for so long, and this is tough to take. A lot of my team-mates were as surprised as I am by me not being picked.
“If he (Okon) has a personal problem with me I wish he had told me, rather than just telling me I am not fit.”
Okon spoken openly about his view of Amini’s lack of conditioning ahead of an international tournament on Soccer Stoppage Time radio three days ago.
“My 12 months in Germany have been really enjoyable and a pretty steep learning curve.
“But I can confidently say I have developed my game and that will hopefully continue.
“I’m open minded about the journey and understand that to get to the top it takes time – and time is what I have.”
Ahmed’s the sole writer of the soon to be critically acclaimed Young Roos. He’s on Twitter too, @ahmedyussuf10. Give him a follow.