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National football team gets new captain

Gökhan Inler is to captain the Swiss national football team in its June 4 match against England, national coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has revealed.

Inler replaces Alex Frei, who announced his retirement from the international game at the end of March.

The decision does not come as a surprise, since Inler had already been Frei’s deputy.

“Gökhan is in top form, is handling the ball well and is a strong runner,” Hitzfeld told Saturday’s Blick newspaper.

“It’s an honour for me and it makes me proud to lead this national team,” Inler told the paper.

“I shall do my best to ensure that we have a hungry team, and will try to be a bridge between coach and team.”

Inler, who is 26, currently plays for the Italian team Udinese, where he is a midfielder.

He made his first appearance for Switzerland in a friendly against Venezuela in 2006. In all he has made 47 international appearances, and scored four goals.

He captained the team during its shock defeat of Spain in the 2010 World Cup – the only game Switzerland won and the only game Spain (the eventual champions) lost.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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