Last week, four months after leaving Eintracht Frankfurt to join French champions Paris Saint-Germain, goalkeeper Kevin Trapp was called up to the Germany national team for the first time in his career.
The 25-year-old has made a good start to life in Paris, with 10 clean sheets from 16 appearances across Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League.
However, two glaring errors -- one in a 2-2 league draw at home to Girondins de Bordeaux and the other in a recent 1-0 defeat away at Real Madrid in Europe -- have taken some of the shine off of his early form at Parc des Princes.
Since his arrival in France back in July, Trapp has been the subject of intense scrutiny because of the benching of former first choice goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, who was deposed from the starting XI. While it is true that manager Laurent Blanc and PSG collectively could have handled the Italy international's situation better, it is also clear exactly why Le President favours his summer signing over the Azzurri No. 2.
Trapp, despite his two mistakes, is stronger than Sirigu in two key areas of his game. The German is more authoritative in the air -- preferring to catch the ball rather than punch like Sirigu. Trapp is also superior to the former Palermo man when the ball is played to him on the ground. Blanc wants his PSG side to emulate Barcelona in their style of dominant, possession-based football and one of Barca's key features is that the goalkeeper regularly acts as an 11th outfield player. To do this, the goalkeeper needs to be comfortable with the ball at his feet and in making short -- and occasionally long -- passes, which is something that cannot be said of Sirigu.
Trapp revealed to Kicker recently that he sees his task with Les Parisiens as similar to that of current Germany international Manuel Neuer with Bayern Munich. "It's a bit like Manu [Neuer] in Munich. He also has many games where he is out of work most of the time, but has to be there in the decisive situations," the PSG goalkeeper said. "When you play in a dominant team, you need to get used to not receiving constant shots on the goal and still being in the match. That's a major difference to Frankfurt."
Despite being to Blanc's liking in terms of his aerial ability and technical skills, Trapp's Bordeaux and Real gaffes cannot be completely overlooked. The former 1. FC Kaiserslautern man also looked a little shaky early on in the 5-0 win over Toulouse last weekend -- when he handled a backwards pass -- and was perhaps still dwelling on his costly error at the Santiago Bernabeu a few days before.
However, to say that Trapp is underserving of his Germany call-up simply based on those two mistakes is unfair. The PSG No. 16 is not a clumsy goalkeeper and apart from those two incidents, he has been solid and reliable between the sticks.
The German is still learning and coming to terms with the change in expectations and standards since moving from Frankfurt to Paris. What has been most impressive in his short time in the French capital so far, though, is how he reacted to both of his howlers. Trapp showed impressive mental strength to put those slips behind him and bounce back with stronger performances. Trapp's recovery during the 1-0 defeat away at Real, when he made some important saves after gifting Los Blancos the lead in Madrid, was particularly noteworthy.
Joachim Low's decision to call the PSG man up for the games against France and the Netherlands is also unsurprising considering that current Germany national team goalkeeping coach Andreas Kopke has visited Paris twice already this season.
The former Olympique de Marseille goalkeeper watched Trapp in action in both the 2-1 win over Kopke's former club and in the 0-0 draw at home to Real in the first of the two recent Champions League Group A showdowns.
Kopke reportedly spoke with the player after his heroic display in the win over Marseille and was no doubt impressed by what he saw in both of his scouting missions.
Trapp's inclusion in the squad for the friendlies against France and the Netherlands is unlikely to be for anything more than being Germany's third-choice goalkeeper and he probably will not feature in either match. However, it will allow Trapp a small taste of international duty and give him something to continue to strive for with PSG between now and next summer.