Bayern Munich attacking midfielder Mario Gotze says he is very happy to have returned to the international fold following links with a move to Liverpool.
Gotze, 23, has endured a disappointing third season at Bayern this season. A groin injury suffered in October kept him sidelined until February, but since his return to fitness he has featured just once from a possible eight games for the German champions.
This week, the former Borussia Dortmund star has been heavily linked with a move to Anfield and a reunion with former manager Jurgen Klopp. Gotze has one year left remaining on his contract with Bayern and according to Sky Sports, Klopp fancies his chances of signing his former player in a cut price deal.
But after starting and scoring for Germany in the 4-1 win over Italy on Tuesday 29 March, Gotze was seemingly just glad to be playing again.
"I am very happy," Gotze told German broadcaster ARD after Wednesday's friendly victory. "For me it was just important to be able to play again after such a long injury. Just again to do what makes me happy, to be back on the pitch, then to make a goal.
For me to know that I can play and get my minutes, then I am happy."
Gotze, regarded as one of the brightest talents in world football prior to his move to Bayern, has failed to build on that formidable reputation he honed under Klopp at Dortmund. While he scored the goal that won Germany the 2014 World Cup, his club fate has not followed a similar trajectory and is now behind summer signings Douglas Costa and Kinglsey Coman in Pep Guardiola's reckoning.
Guardiola - who will leave Bayern to take over at Manchester City at the end of the season - has insisted Gotze remains part of his plans for the remainder of the current campaign. However, the 23-year-old's performances have attracted criticism, with former Germany international Mehmet Scholl insisting he is not working as hard as he was back when he was an emerging talent at Dortmund.
"Why can't he produce consistent performances?" For me the answer is obvious, he has to train much, much more," Scholl said. "I remember when he was very young at Dortmund. He was an arrow, he was fast, he was so athletic. At the moment he is so far removed from that."