Germany defender Mats Hummels is ready to play a leadership role at the European Championship starting next month after returning to the national team following a “painful” two-year absence.

The 32-year-old Hummels, along with fellow 2014 World Cup winner Thomas Mueller, has been called up for the first time since 2019 after coach Joachim Loew interrupted a team overhaul ahead of the tournament.

“Thomas and me were always proud to be here and it hurt when that happened (in 2019), no denying that,” Hummels, who won the German Cup with Borussia Dortmund this season, told an online news conference from their training base in Austria.

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“But I had set the goal to work my way back into the team again. I wanted to do it as ambition but also as an honour to play for Germany.”

Hummels and attacking midfielder Mueller’s services have…

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