Young Arsenal stars Héctor Bellerín and Serge Gnabry have both been called up to their respective national U21 teams for the first time.
Bellerín will hope to make his debut for Spain U21s in the games against Norway and Belarus next week, while Gnabry faces some tough competition in the Germany U21 squad for their friendlies against Italy and England.
The young Spaniard has enjoyed some fine form in his breakthrough season, making 18 first team appearances already. The young right-back, signed from Barcelona in 2011, turned 20 this week.
Bellerín has already represented Spain at U16, U17, and U19 levels, most recently making nine appearances for the Spain U19 side since his debut in June 2013.
Liverpool defender Javier Manquillo, on loan from Atlético Madrid, will be Bellerín’s competition for the right-back berth. Manquillo already has two caps for the U21 side but is currently out of favour at Liverpool – he hasn’t started since an 0-0 FA Cup draw with Bolton back in January.
Serge Gnabry has had a troubled season, and hasn’t made a first team appearance for Arsenal since February 2014. He was last part of the matchday squad at the end of March last year. A bad knee injury and a number of setbacks later, Gnabry is back in full training.
Gnabry has previously played for the U16, U17, U18, and U19 Germany teams, and has managed three goals and three assists in his five U19 appearances. Despite his absence, the Germany U19 team won the European Championships for their age group last summer.
It speaks a lot for Gnabry’s quality that he missed that tournament and has not played first-team football since, yet is still held in such high regard that he has been called up to a higher level than previously.
Gnabry’s company in the U21 squad will include first-team players from the likes of Barcelona, Liverpool, Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, and Borussia Dortmund in the U21 squad – it is no mean feat that he’s been called up to join them.
With Germany facing England U21s, Gnabry could come up against Arsenal teammates Carl Jenkinson and Calum Chambers.
Incidentally, Calum Chambers is also set to make his U21 debut having ALREADY won three caps for the national team.
Congratulations to our young players, good luck, and please return injury free!