Low: Draxler and Kimmich not top class... yet
Germany head coach Joachim Low believes the likes of Julian Draxler and Joshua Kimmich can help themselves move on to the next level with a strong showing in the Confederations Cup.
The world champions begin their Group B campaign against Australia in Sochi on Monday, with Paris Saint-Germain winger Draxler and Bayern Munich utility man Kimmich among the leading attractions, given the squad Low selected for the competition.
Star men such as Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng. Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller are among those who have been rested, with Low taking the opportunity to analyse the next generation of talent and those on the fringes of the national side ahead of Germany's defence of the World Cup back in Russia next year.
Indeed, Draxler is one of only three men in the travelling party with a World Cup winners medal but Low was unapologetic over his policy during a pre-match news conference at Fisht Stadium, flagging up the benefits to Die Mannschaft.
"Some of the players in my squad give me a feeling they will have a breakthrough," he said.
"Players like Draxler and Kimmich can still develop. They are not top world performers, not yet, but they can be there.
"This is not a risk at all. This is a chance to look at new people for the team.
"I am not lacking confidence at all. All of these players have performed well in the Bundesliga this season and have good qualities."
Low making no bones about his selection. "This is not a risk. I am not lacking confidence." pic.twitter.com/tPFbD3XaGY
— Dom Farrell (@DomFarrell1986) June 18, 2017
Low would not go so far as to say those players enjoying themselves on beaches far away from the Black Sea could find their places under threat, but the man who has led Germany with distinction since 2006 fully recognises the need for evolution.
"I think that our stars are not fearful," he said. "Those who have been playing on that top level are world champions or have been playing in the Champions League.
"But having said, that it's quite an incentive [for the Confederations Cup squad]. A competitive situation that the young players need to move ahead.
"Even as world champion there comes a time when there must be change. We have to grow the team during a competition. It will do us good. This experience we are going to have will be excellent."
Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov was among the dissenting voices when Low unveiled a squad in line with plans drawn up in the aftermath of World Cup glory in Brazil
Nevertheless, the 57-year-old was quick to dismiss the notion of any hard feelings with the former goalkeeper he coached at Tirol Innsbruck.
"I know people have been critical of me, also here in Russia," Low added, having seen the hosts open the tournament with a 2-0 win over New Zealand.
"Cherchesov is an unbelievable character with strong will. I'm glad they won yesterday and we sent a few text messages back and forth."