Serge Gnabry says he is “proud” after reflecting on his journey from Arsenal flop to Champions League winner – but hinted at interest in a return to the club in future.
Gnabry got his hands on the Champions League trophy with Bayern Munich at the end of last season, a campaign in which he scored 23 goals from 46 games.
It marked the highest point in his career so far, and a stark contrast to his time in England. He spent three seasons in the Arsenal first team but only made 18 appearances before being loaned out to West Brom.
During his time there, manager Tony Pulis said he wasn’t up to the standard required, and only gave him three games. Gnabry is having the last laugh now, though, having resurrected his career after leaving Arsenal permanently in 2016.
Bayern came calling in 2017 after one season at Werder Bremen. He has now established himself as a first team regular.
Now, the 25-year-old has looked back on his career so far. He admitted he needed to keep his “self-confidence” high after being snubbed at Arsenal and particularly West Brom.
“You always hear a little bit about it or people in the UK ask me about it,” Gnabry told CBS of his thoughts on Pulis’ assertion he wasn’t good enough.
“It looks like it won’t stop, all I can say is I’m proud of the journey I’ve taken.
“To be a Champions League winner now when a couple of years back I was doubted is obviously a great thing for me.
“Of course after having struggled a lot it was difficult to pick myself up. The biggest thing is that self-confidence, that I knew what I was capable of. I never lost that.
“Obviously, you doubt it at some points but I never lost it.
“The second biggest point in that way is I was playing a lot, not having so many injuries, so many little things that kept me out of games.
“To just be consistent and being able to play every time, showing my performance helped me for the future. If I can play, I can show what I can do.”
On the topic of a potential return to the Premier League later down the line, Gnabry said Arsenal would be “the favourite” destination.
Gnabry on playing abroad
Born in Germany, Gnabry left his homeland for Arsenal at the age of just 16. It was a big move for someone so young, but he insists the decision helped him become a stronger character.
“Most of all it’s a test of character,” he said of playing abroad. “You have to leave your comfort zone, your friends, your family.
“It helps you a lot in building strong character because you’re in some way by yourself or in a whole new environment.
“It’s always good for young people. I would recommend them to do it.
“I would do it over again if I was in that position because it helped my character a lot. You experience new things, also in other countries the leagues and teaching of football is also good.
“It’s never a wrong thing to move abroad.”