"I'm not awake, I still dream of Russia" - City star on his hopes for a World Cup summer
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Timm Klose has not given up on his World Cup dream - but he is happy to choose club over country for now.
The latest international break saw Switzerland pipped to automatic qualification for Russia 2018 after defeat at eventual Group B winners Portugal, which at least gives City striker Nelson Oliveira a summer carrot to chase.
It means the Swiss must rely on winning their two-legged qualification play-off next month to book their own World Cup place, with the draw and seedings confirmed next week – all of which will be of interest to Klose, despite his fortnight back in Norfolk.
National coach Vladimir Petkovic has made it clear since City’s Premier League relegation in 2016 how difficult playing in the Championship would make Klose’s bid for consistent Swiss selection.
However, the Canaries’ 29-year-old centre-back has come to terms with the score, while hoping there may still be a happy ending come the summer.
“Listen, the national team and me was always a bit of a strange relationship,” said Klose.
“Even when I was playing in Germany in the first division, they missed me out sometimes and I was back in, in and out all the time. Then I got injured before the big tournament last year.
“Of course, it’s a little bit in my mind because it’s the national team and I’m proud to play for my country. It should be that way. And I’m playing here for that. I’m working hard to be on his radar. I think that’s the only thing I can do.
“He told me if I play in the second division it’s going to be hard to get selected, but I’m still on the sheet, I’m still on standby – so he hasn’t quite forgotten about me.
“That’s a good sign that I’m doing the right things and as long as I play, as long as I’m not injured, I think I’m always in his mind.
“As long as I’m not in a first division somewhere it’s going to be hard. But the dream... I’m not awake. I still dream of Russia. There’s still a slight chance I can make it into the squad for that tournament. Of course we need to qualify first, but I think with this team and with the quality we have, we are more than capable of that.
“I’m working hard to just stay on his radar and be a possibility if he needs me. That’s all I can offer him at the moment, because I know we are playing in the second division – but I’m enjoying it at the moment, I really am.”