Serge Gnabry says he’s looking forward to getting his international career back on track after a recall to Germany’s under-21s by coach Horst Hrubesch.
Just over a year ago Arsene Wenger played up the winger’s chances of featuring at the World Cup only for a knee problem, sustained in March, to sideline him for 12 months.
Eager to sharpen his match fitness in games against England and Italy, Gnabry told DFB.com that he’s honoured to get the call from his country.
“I was very happy to get the call from Horst Hrubesch. It’s a great honour to be included in the squad, all the more so when you look at the fantastic footballers we’ve got.
“I know half of the players from previous national team call-ups and club matches and I’m really looking forward to the week with them.
“The contact with Horst Hrubesch has been there for years. And with [DFB sporting director] Hansi Flick as well, he just recently visited me in England. It’s a small gesture, but it shows that you’re being observed and that they care about you.
“It’s not been easy [being sidelined]. Long injuries are not fun. As a footballer you want to play football. You have to fight back. I’ve been back in training for a month and a half and I’m on the right track. I’m still missing match practice though.
“There’s a big tournament this summer [under-21 European Championships] and this team has what it takes to win it. I want to impose myself and I hope that I can quickly get up to 100% fitness.”
Elsewhere, Gnabry’s compatriot Mesut Ozil has told Sport Bild that he harbours hopes of one day being crowned Ballon d’Or winner.
The World Cup winner didn’t make the shortlist in 2014, but insists he’s on the way up and hopes an improvement for club and country will stand him in good stead.
“Should I continue to improve myself and stay healthy, I want to get my hands on the Ballon d’Or in the upcoming years. I am convinced that it can work out. I am headed in the right direction.
“I am a world champion and play at a top club in the Premier League. It’s far more physical here [England] than in Spain or in the Bundesliga. I constantly have bruises, but it only makes me stronger, and physically I feel better than ever before.”
We admire Mesut’s optimism and certainly feel like he’s improving, however, we suspect for all his qualities, he still has some way to go before being crowned the world’s best player.