With his numbers exceeding every playmaker in the German squad, could Pascal Gross catch the eye of Joachim Low?
Modest, dedicated, graceful and elegant with unbelievable consistency and the work-rate of Forrest Gump, Gross has kicked off the first quarter of the season with sheer beauty and with a round figure of £3 million, Brighton grabbed a bargain not even a Championship team could claim.
Growing up within a family that had a strong bond, young Pascal developed a thirst for football in his early childhood by watching the passion his father Stefan had for the game.
Gross kicked-off his playing career in the youth ranks of his hometown club VfL Neckarau, with a determined attitude the young talent worked his socks off until he signed for Bundesliga side Hoffenheim in 2008.
With inexhaustible aptitude, Gross could finally realise his dream of becoming the rising star of German football. Unfortunately, what followed was devastating, as the midfielder featured less than 90 minutes over the course of two seasons for his new club.
Following that disappointment, Gross left Hoffenheim with his tail between his legs, as he decided to start all over again moving to Karlsruher where he played with the reserve team in the fourth tier Regionalliga Süd.
Gross hit the ground running to prove his outstanding individual quality, filling his father’s boots at his former club, rising to the first team and eventually moving to Ingolstadt 04 where he took the Bavarian side to their first ever Bundesliga promotion, scoring seven goals to claim the second division title.
During their two spells in the Bundesliga, Gross led Ingolstadt with soaring confidence to become one of the most creative midfielders in the competition providing 95 and 98 key passes in each season respectively with 30 plus key passes; more than any other Germany player from the league.
After the German side’s relegation, Gross opted to move to newly-promoted English club Brighton instead of accepting offers from Champions League clubs.
Wasting no time in adjusting to the Premier League, the German has adapted to Chris Hughton’s tactics perfectly, maturing into an underrated midfielder and a cornerstone for the Seagulls, turning them from relegation contenders to a side siting nicely among the top ten teams in the top flight.
“We’re fortunate that he was one of our first summer buys. He’s very knowledgeable about the game, about the English game, and he speaks very good English which has helped from day one,” Hughton told the Daily Mail.
“He’s someone that wants to get better and is very serious about his football. He’s a team player, somebody that you can have good football conversations with. He hasn’t missed too many games in the last few years and he’s very experienced.”
Gross on his debut in England single-handedly put West Brom to the sword, grabbing two goals and an assist to mark Brighton’s first ever victory in the Premier League.
The 26-year-old already has five more assists than any other new Premier League signing and has bagged three goals to boot, meaning he’s been directly involved in over 60 per cent of his side’s goals, the second highest percentage for any player in the top flight.
Low’s go-to playmaker, Mesut Ozil, has only been directly involved in half the amount of goals. Nonetheless, Brighton’s man believes he is far from any comparison with Arsenal’s midfield wizard, and feels the young talents in the current Germany squad deserve the call more than he.
“Mesut has shown his quality over the years. He’s a big player. Some people aren’t convinced about him but he shows it every year – and for me he can always make a difference in every game,” Gross told the Daily Mail.
Commenting on his chances of being included in the Germany squad for next summer, Gross was typically modest.
“No. It’s too late for me. We have many good young players who have a big standing in the national team.”
The midfielder is not blessed with dazzling dribbling skills but possesses quality ball distribution, pinpoint crossing and is a great reader of the game.
Gross is a down to earth, humble, family man, who will soon be a major signing if one of Europe’s more powerful clubs chooses to bite.
The big question is, will Low recognise that before the World Cup?