Serge Gnabry believes he would not be the player he is today had it not been for the time he spent developing his game at Arsenal.
The former Gunners star made history on Friday night as he became the first Germany player in 40 years to mark his senior debut for the national side with a hat-trick as San Marino were swatted aside.
The 21-year-old was rewarded for an excellent start to life in the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen, for whom he has scored four goals in nine appearances.
He left Arsenal in a £5million deal this summer to join the side, having spent five years with the Gunners.
Gnabry made 10 Premier League appearances under Arsene Wenger, but his time at the club came to an end after a disappointing loan spell with West Brom in the 2015/16 season.
But he has rekindled his career by returning to his homeland, although Gnabry will not forget the part Arsenal played in his development.
“I would not have been the player I am, not without my time in England,” he told RND.
“There is Arsenal’s playing style, for example, that I had to learn during my time there.
“And it is a given that you learn a lot and improve when you are training with great players like at Arsenal for three years. That was definitely the case with me.
“I would perhaps not have been with the national team now without my time in England.”
Gnabry has since been linked with a move to Bayern Munich on the back of his displays with Werder and the player’s departure from Arsenal this summer was branded a transfer mistake by Arsene Wenger in our weekly Monday Verdict piece.
Our James Marshment wrote:
‘It’s quite rare to find Wenger get it wrong when it comes to deciding which players aren’t up to the task at Arsenal.
‘But having witnessed the rise of Serge Gnabry this season, one does wonder if, for once, the Frenchman did have the blinkers on.’
To read more on this – as well as thoughts on Paul Pogba, Daniel Sturridge and Leeds United – click here.