While justifying his decision to field inexperienced youngsters against England and lavishing praise on Roy Hodgson, the Germany manager waxed lyrical on a variety of themes
It seems Roy Hodgson isn't the only international manager forced to field relentless queries about goalkeeper selection policy or entertain the conspiracy theories of an occasionally mischievous media. During his press conference in the Gladstone Library at the Royal Horseguards Hotel in London's Whitehall, Joachim Löw was on more than one occasion asked by travelling journalists to justify his decision to hand an international debut to the 33-year-old Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller.
He also denied speculation that the reason for the absence of Manuel Neuer and Philipp Lahm from Germany's travelling party was some sort of sinister sop to Bayern Munich, who would be pleased to see their players being rested while those from Borussia Dortmund were not.
"The truth is we were not exactly looking for goalkeepers as we have goalkeepers aplenty," said Löw, looking characteristically dapper in a tight navy V-neck pullover (with no visible sign of shirt) and grey slacks that had quite obviously made the very recent acquaintance of his room's Corby Trouser Press.
"Manuel Neuer is definitely our No1 keeper, René Adler is coming back from injury and played a vital part in our victories over Russia and France, so we know his worth. I think Roman just deserves his place in the squad after all those fantastic league performances for Dortmund. With a World Cup coming up next year we've got to be prepared and play several alternatives, too. I think Roman's made a fantastic impression both in training and in the League. He is a mature personality. He displays composure, is cool, calm and collected and his goalkeeping abilities are beyond any doubt."
Pressed further after this thorough, but apparently unsatisfactory, response, Löw pointed out that his reasons for including Weidenfeller were as much sociological as they were to do with football. "I have always wanted to check him out and see how he fares in training, see what makes him tick. His training is excellent and as a man, as a personality, I have no concerns about him being a valuable addition to the squad. He has assumed the role of a leading player for Dortmund and he could do the same thing for Germany."
Asked if domestic accusations that there was some sort of sinister agenda behind his decision to rest key personnel from Bayern Munich but not Borussia Dortmund for Tuesday night's match were unfair, Löw did well to prevent his eyes from rolling skywards and showcase what one suspects was thinly veiled amused exasperation.
"Yes, absolutely," he said. "These tests are important. I need these tests and Dortmund v Bayern is just not my province. It's not something I deal with deliberately, just ask the players … they all want to play. Neither do I think that [Jürgen] Klopp or [Pep] Guardiola would ever dictate to me; maybe the odd club official or representative, but to me honest it really isn't that important to me. Of course I will make sure that the same player won't play the full 90 minutes twice but I think it's still a media issue.
"The media are constantly adding oil to the fire when it's not really necessary to do so. And again, I think it would be really weak or lazy of you to do that, because people in their mid-20s or early 30s … there's simply no way that these guys are over-burdened or over-stretched when they play two matches in the space of four days."
During an absorbing 45-minute briefing throughout which Löw spoke exclusively in German while flanked by an interpreter who appeared to be performing heroics, talk turned to the suitability of the much-lauded "German model" of football (ostensibly: being really good at football) and how it might be applied in England to improve the standing of Roy Hodgson's team in the international community.
"The truth is we have really stepped up our talent promotion scheme in Germany," explained Löw. "We've improved our technical skills across the board, we have great strength in depth and that is our great advantage at the moment."
Asked if Germany's or Borussia Dortmund's style of ludicrously high-tempo transition football (ostensibly: being really good at football) might be a suitable tactic for England to embrace, Herr Löw said he could see, or at least diplomatically pretended he could see no reason why not.
"You referred to the special style of Dortmund, of quick transitions after winning back possession of the ball," he told his inquisitor. "Yes, it's true, but if you look at Arsenal and Dortmund, they are both shaped in a very special way, not necessarily by English or German players, but by foreign players. I don't think we should compare club teams with international teams because they are different cups of tea. Having said that, I think England are very good. If you look at [Wayne] Rooney dropping deep, [Daniel] Sturridge and [Theo] Walcott ... they're all very good on the counter-attack so, yes, it would suit England. Why not?"
Löw also had heart-warming words of encouragement for France, having said he was "very surprised" they lost in the first leg of their play-off with Ukraine. The "star-studded team" go into Tuesday night's second leg needing to overturn a two-goal deficit if they are to qualify for Brazil 2014 and while the prevailing mood in Paris is one of pessimism and ennui,, the German manager seems genuinely confident they can do it.
"If Ukraine get a good result in France, then they deserve their ticket to Brazil," he said. "But my gut feeling is that at the end of the day, France will be able to turn things around. There's obviously a huge level of expectation in France and I can imagine that the French players, the coach and the French public are going through a tense few days, because not qualifying for Brazil would be something akin to a national catastrophe."
No stranger to pressure himself, Löw works in the service of a German public who expect their representatives to something no European team has done before: win a World Cup staged in South America. Quizzed about this burden of expectation and their exalted position among the favourites, the 53-year-old gave no indication that he feels daunted by the difficulty of the task in hand.
"All of us have a very high level of expectation on ourselves, so we will do everything we can to be as good as we can for the tournament," he said, before adding an interesting caveat. "At this stage, though, the players simply have other things on their minds. There's the Champions League, the German championship, the German Cup, so it's probably too early to put Brazil on the agenda for them at this stage. Rest assured that we'll be placing every ounce of our ambitions to go to Brazil as well prepared as possible."