Man-of-the-moment Serge Gnabry says his confidence is sky-high and credits the Rio Olympics for helping him fulfill his potential. The hero of Germany's qualifying win over San Marino also impressed Joachim Löw.
With the German team weakened by injury and illness and facing an opposition never likely to pose even the most cursory of tests, the Werder Bremen winger was handed a debut on Friday night.
International bows don't come much less threatening than facing San Marino but Gnabry shone brightest in a team still packed with attacking talent. The 21-year-old scored after just nine minutes and completed his hat trick 14 minutes from time but he was quick to praise his teammates, as any young gun should do when joining such an established side.
"Of course I didn't expect to score three goals on my debut," he said. "I was fed very well. The coach told me to just play my game and to show my confidence."
The former Arsenal man, who joined the north London club from Stuttgart in 2011, said his experiences and Rio and his decision to sign for Bundesliga strugglers Werder Bremen to get more game time have contributed to his form.
"The Olympics were of course the key," Gnabry said. "The last two years were very difficult for me. The confidence grows with every goal. I am on a run and I hope it continues."
His national team boss said the game and performance was "great for him, for his development and for his confidence. Regardless of the opponent, it is a very good start in the national team."
While both Gnabry and Löw acknowledged that there's a long way to go, the recent struggles of some of Germany's front players - particularly Mario Götze and Mario Gomez, who both failed to find the net on Friday - suggest the future looks bright for Gnabry.