Muller admits nomination shock
Germany midfielder Thomas Muller has admitted his surprise at being nominated for the World Cup's young player of the tournament award.
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Muller is up against Ghana's Andre Ayew and Mexico's Giovani Dos Santos as his meteoric rise continues.
Only 15 months ago, the 20-year-old Bayern Munich player was playing third-division football for Bayern's reserves.
But he then broke into Bayern's first team and won his first cap in March before taking the World Cup by storm.
Muller has scored four goals in South Africa to help Germany reach the semi-finals and he could boost that tally in Saturday's third-place play-off against Uruguay.
"I was just told on the way here and it is a great honour to be selected as one of the nominees," he said at Friday's press conference.
"It is a wonderful recognition of your work."
Muller broke into Bayern's first team at the start of the season and was instrumental in helping them win the domestic league and cup double before losing the Champions League final against Inter Milan.
He was handed his international debut in March and after securing a place in Joachim Low's final 23-man squad, he established himself in the starting line-up.
Muller was suspended for the semi-final defeat by Spain but could now join Franz Beckenbauer (1966) and Lukas Podolski (2006) as the only German players to have won the young player award.
"It is quite unbelievable because a lot has happened in the past season," he said.
"But to be honest, I would have preferred winning the World Cup than win this award."
Spain now face Holland in Sunday's final and Muller is hoping Bayern team-mates Arjen Robben and Mark van Bommel can help the Dutch to their first-ever World Cup title.
"The Dutch have been playing well and qualified early for the final," he said.
"I am surprised they haven't played with the some flair they showed at Euro 2008, but you underestimate the Dutch at your peril.
"I haven't really spoken or texted (Robben or van Bommel) since the semi-finals, but I know it is their dream.
"It would be great if they won the World Cup because my club team would field world champions."