Lewis Holtby: My dad calls me Fritz

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The Independent Football

Lewis Holtby's English father reacted to his decision to play for Germany by giving him a new nickname. "He started calling me 'Fritz'," revealed Holtby, who joined Tottenham from Schalke last month. "Every time I had a good game, 'Great game, Fritz'. I got used to that name, the typical English humour, I loved it."

His father, Christopher, who was in the RAF, raised him to support England. "Because of Dad I wore an England shirt," Holtby said. "We went to Cologne in 2006 on the bridge with 40,000 English people for the Sweden game." The young midfielder could have chosen to play for England. "I did get my first Under-18 cap for Germany. It's not like changing clubs. I'm a proud person. If you play for your country, you cheer your country, you sing the national anthem and you stick 100 per cent behind that. Now I am captain of the Under-21s."

When Germany beat England 4-1 in the 2010 World Cup, the father and son watched it together: "I was just sitting there saying nothing. He was nearly crying." But Holtby Jnr is delighted to be in English football now: "I want to be glorious with this club, I'm very happy to be here."