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Germany's youth development falling behind Europe - Low

Germany coach Joachim Low has said the country's academies are falling behind other European nations in producing modern footballers.

Low made the comments after the Germany squad for this month's friendly and European Championship qualifier matches, which included three uncapped players, was announced.

Referring to the Bundesliga's problems in Europe this term Low said Germany's academies have been overtaken by "England, France and Belgium who have all developed one-on-one players with individual qualities."

"The game has become more intense and even faster," he said.

"There is less time to make decisions and fewer pockets of space you can go into. The future is to put more focus on the cognitive part of a player's development."

In the upcoming friendly against Serbia and Euro 2020 qualifier against the Netherlands, Low wants to take the first step towards playing at a higher speed and finding faster solutions under pressure.

Hertha Berlin's Niklas Stark, RB Leipzig full-back Lukas Klostermann and Werder Bremen midfielder Maxi Eggestein have all won their first invitation to the squad which does not include in-form Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mario Gotze.

Also omitted are Bayern Munich trio Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller. Earlier this month, 59-year-old Low told the Bayern players they will not be considered for future international selection at their training ground.

His decision led to strong criticism from the players and their club, mostly for the way the 2014 World Cup winners were axed, but Low rejected concerns about the way he informed the players and said it would have been "embarrassing for me if the news had leaked".

While Germany usually announce their squad in brief press releases, Low felt the need to call a news conference in Frankfurt on Friday to explain his decision to dispense with the Bayern trio, and also share his plans for the national team's direction.

He suggested he had not banned them but had no plans to use them in the future despite the players telling him they would be available for the national team if needed.

"It's a fact I told them they are not in my plans for the qualifiers and the Euros. I have not banned them, but I am not planning with them," Low told the news conference.

"We wanted to be honest and we made this decision out of conviction. It was a process. How do we want the team to play in the future? We want to go into the European qualifiers with a different idea of how we want to play."

Praising the trio's achievements for Germany during the successful decade for the national team culminating in the 2014 World Cup win in Brazil, Low added that it was now time to look ahead.

"It was a decision for the future," Low said, adding that he knew he would face criticism for it.

German football has gone through a difficult spell since the 2018 World Cup exit at the group stages. Low did not make instant changes after the debacle in Russia, with only Sami Khedira no longer called up and Mesut Ozil announcing his retirement from the Nationalmannschaft in the wake of the Erdogan scandal.

Germany were then relegated from the UEFA Nations League's top flight and only this week all Bundesliga clubs were eliminated from the Champions League at the round of 16 stage for the first time since 2006.

"I was hoping for an act of defiance after the World Cup. What happened in Russia, we could not see it coming," Low said. "And after the World Cup there was the Nations League."

"To me, it was the ideal time to make the decision now going into the qualifiers. It needs change now. We still have over a year until the European Championships."

Germany squad

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (FC Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Defenders: Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach), Thilo Kehrer (Paris Saint-Germain), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Nico Schulz (TSG Hoffenheim), Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich), Jonathan Tah (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Niklas Stark (Hertha BSC), Marcel Halstenberg (RB Leipzig), Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig)

Midfielders: Julian Brandt (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Maximilian Eggestein (Werder Bremen), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Kai Havertz (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)

Attackers: Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Leroy Sane (Manchester City), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)


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