Mesut Özil and Per Mertesacker recommended to Joachim Low that he call up Serge Gnabry back in 2014 before the winger suffered an injury.
At 18 years old in 2013/14, Gnabry was having his breakthrough season with Arsenal. The young winger made 14 appearances on the pitch and 38 appearances in the senior squad despite his age, scoring once and assisting in the North London derby.
Fellow Germans Mesut Özil and Per Mertesacker were clearly impressed with what they’d seen, since Joachim Low says they told him positive things about Gnabry’s progress.
“I actually wanted to take Serge to the World Cup in 2014 when he was 18,” Low said. “Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil told me that he was crazy in training and that he had a lot of pace. But then he suffered an injury.”
That injury was arguably career-changing. The most immediate impact was that the winger dropped out of the Arsenal squad for the final six games of the season and missed Germany’s World Cup-winning campaign.
The problems continued into the next season though, with Gnabry only properly returning to the pitch with the u23s the following April. As a result, he went from 38 senior squad appearances to zero between the two seasons.
That was followed by a loan to West Bromwich Albion, and we all know the rest. It certainly could have been a very different path for Gnabry had he stayed fit, but at least he’s thriving on an individual level now with club and country.