Lukas Nmecha’s EXCLUSIVE column: Preston North End for the Premier League & Manchester City for the title!

I made my debut for Germany Under-21s on Tuesday night, having chosen to declare for them having played for England in past seasons.

Thursday, 28th March 2019, 12:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th March 2019, 12:33 pm
Battling for the ball with England's Ezri Konsa and Dean Henderson (photo: Getty Images)

Germany is the country where I was born, I lived in Hamburg until I was nine when my family moved to Manchester.

It is something I have been thinking about for a while and I’m more than comfortable with it – there is no going back for me.

My mum is German so there is the family side of things but the decision was mine at the end of the day.

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I spoke to the Under-21s coach Stefan Kuntz a lot and his philosophy was one which really impressed me.

It ended up that I made my debut against England in the midweek friendly.

I had joined up with the Germany squad at the start of the international break and trained with them.

There was a game last week against Holland but my clearance hadn’t come through from FIFA.

All the time in that one I was sat at the side wishing I could be out there on the pitch.

I needed to get clearance from the English FA and I think for some reason they had to get approval from the other countries in Great Britain.

That is probably why it took a bit longer than we hoped it would.

It was all a bit confusing but other people behind the scenes were doing that side of things while I got on with training.

After the Holland game, we flew here last Sunday and trained at Bournemouth’s training ground on Monday.

At that stage I still didn’t know if I would be able to play against England.

The clearance only came through less than an hour before the game and I was named as a substitute.

I came on after an hour and really enjoyed playing in what was a very good game.

Watching the first half from the bench, Germany dominated it and should have been 2-0 up at half-time rather than going in at 1-1.

The second half was more even but we got the winner late on, which was great.

While I have declared for Germany, I don’t regret having played for England at the different age levels.

I was in the squad which won the Under-19s Euros and last summer I played in the Toulon Tournament which we won.

I had some really good times but it is Germany all the way now.

Hopefully I will get into the squad for the European Under-21s Championships in the summer.

Having lived in Germany until I was nine, the language is not an issue.

When I joined up with the squad it took me a couple of days to get into the rhythm of speaking German all the time but I was fine.

Coming to England as a kid, I learned the language here quite easily – I think it’s easier when you are young.

The international break is now over and my aim now is to help Preston get into the play-offs.

These are exciting times and the next eight games are massive.

Reading away is a big one because it’s the next game, that is how we approach it.

Before the break, we won three games in the space of a week really playing that well.

We had to grind out the three points at Blackburn, Middlesbrough and then at home to Birmingham.

Perhaps it is a good sign to keep winning even when the performance is not as good as you’d like it to be.

Since coming back into the Preston team, I’ve played in a wider role.

I do prefer to play down the middle but playing wide in this team suits me fine at the moment.

I’m still an attacking threat from the wide role and contributing to the team.

It was a good moment at Blackburn when I created the goal for Daniel Johnson and that was an example of getting the ball at my feet and using my pace. As a player and a person, I really think I have developed in my time here.

It was very difficult to start with because I wasn’t used to how we played and I was having to learn.

I’d never had to work as hard as I do here, at City it was kids football and I had been used to being the one who scored the goals.

Obviously I would have liked to have scored more goals here than I have done and hopefully I can chip in with a few between now and the end of the season.

The dressing room here is a strong one, it is a great 
of bunch of lads who encourage one another – if you have a bad game, they won’t call you out.

What would be great for me is that Manchester City won the Premier League title and Preston got promoted.

That is a double I would love to happen!