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Arsenal pair Eisfeld and Gnabry not selected for golden chance

Serge Gnabry Nextgen

Arsenal fans hoping to catch a glimpse of their young starlets at the European under-21 championships will be left disappointed.

The technique developed in their youth in Germany is a blessing for Arsenal pair Serge Gnabry and Thomas Eisfeld, but such is the strength in depth of their country's talent pool that their nationality is proving, in the short term at least, restrictive.

The under-21 European Championships tournament kicks off in early June, taking place in Israel with 16 teams attempting to emulate the winning 2011 Spain side which included the likes of Javi Martinez and Thiago Alcantara.

Two players at Arsenal who might have hoped they would be in with an outside shot of making the German squad, would have been Thomas Eisfeld and Serge Gnabry.

Eisfeld is 20 and has been a regular for Arsenal's under-21 side this season, recently scoring a superb long-range goal against Liverpool, while Serge Gnabry, 17, has scored a string of them and was instrumental in the NextGen Series side reaching the semi-finals, also impressing for the under-21s.

When it comes to first team chances, Gnabry grabbed a few minutes in the Premier League back in the Autumn and has not appeared since, while both were also handed substitute roles in the League Cup, with Eisfeld particularly impressive against Reading.

So given their outstanding talent you might imagine they would be in with a shot of featuring next month, but not so.

German coach Rainer Adrion has named a 25-man provisional squad which does not include either Arsenal man.

Goalkeepers: Oliver Baumann (SC Freiburg), Bernd Leno (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Timo Horn (1. FC Köln).

Defenders: Tony Jantschke (VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach), Sebastian Jung (Eintracht Frankfurt), Jan Kirchhoff (1. FSV Mainz 05), Sead Kolasinac (FC Schalke 04), Matthias Ginter (SC Freiburg), Oliver Sorg (SC Freiburg), Stefan Thesker (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim), Lasse Sobiech (SpVgg Greuther Fürth), Shkodran Mustafi (UC Sampdoria).

Midfielders: Tolgay Arslan (Hamburger SV), Christian Clemens (1. FC Köln), Patrick Funk (FC St Pauli), Patrick Herrmann (VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach), Lewis Holtby (Tottenham Hotspur FC), Christoph Moritz (FC Schalke 04), Sebastian Rode (Eintracht Frankfurt), Sebastian Rudy (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim), Emre Can (FC Bayern München).

Forwards: Pierre-Michel Lasogga (Hertha BSC Berlin), Peniel Mlapa (VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach), Sebastian Polter (1. FC Nürnberg), Kevin Volland (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim).

The squad is a seriously impressive cast of names, with several Bundesliga regulars, including Sebastian Rode and Matthias Ginter. Lewis Holtby of Spurs is another stand out name on the list, which says everything about how seriously Germany are taking this tournament.

With Eisfeld and Gnabry not included it may seem harsh given the talent the former Dortmund and Stuttgart starlets have at their disposal, but a look at the squad indicates just why they are not selected, with a majority of players featuring regularly or at least sporadically for their club sides.

It's a shame for Arsenal fans their much touted young duo won't be out there showing what they can do, but you can bet they will be watching on, and vowing to have a 2013/14 season which will make their national coaches start taking notice of them. 

The message for the pair is clearly to start forcing their way into the Arsenal side, which won't be easy, but they have as good a chance as any other young prospects at the club.

As for the tournament itself, while Spain will be strong, Germany might just be our tip for the tournament when it kicks off next month, certainly ahead of the Stuart Pearce-led England side.

image: © NextGen

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