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Ballack to stay skipper

Germany boss Low claims experienced midfielder will remain captain

Last Updated: 01/09/10 1:11pm

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Ballack: To stay captain

Ballack: To stay captain

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Germany coach Joachim Low insists Michael Ballack will remain national team captain despite not making the opening Euro 2012 squad.

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The 33-year-old midfielder missed this summer's World Cup with an ankle injury sustained in the FA Cup final, and he will miss the upcoming qualifiers with Belgium and Azerbaijan as he continues to recover from the knock.

Ballack is currently trying to regain fitness at new club Bayer Leverkusen, having arrived after being released by Chelsea at the end of last season.

Full-back Philipp Lahm was the temporary skipper in South Africa, with Bastian Schweinsteiger his deputy, but Low says Ballack will be reinstated once he recovers.

"In the last few days, I have had an open and honest discussion with Michael Ballack, which lasted two hours, and I have decided that he will remain captain," said Low.

"He has had a long injury break, but I feel he still has plenty to offer this team.

"When he is not available, Philipp Lahm, who did very well at the World Cup, will be captain with Bastian Schweinsteiger as his deputy."

Meanwhile, Low also confirmed Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will stay first choice for Germany with Rene Adler and Tim Wiese battling to be the reserve goalkeeper.

He added: "Manuel will remain in goal, but we are in a luxury position with three goalkeepers who all have international experience and in this area, we are very strong."

Germany finished third in this summer's World Cup, comfortably beating England and Argentina before losing to Spain in the semi-finals.

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