Sami Khedira has fired a shot across the bows of Germany coach Joachim Low, criticising him for jettisoning Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller - and claiming the national side has “lost a little identity.”
The Germany coach made wholesale changes following their shock exit in the group stage at the 2018 World Cup.
Khedira, along with Boateng, Hummels and Muller, were among a group of senior players told their international careers were over - and have not featured since.
Low softened his stance in the wake of the loss to Spain, saying there could be a way back for those who were shown the door in 2018, but Khedira feels it was a wrong call in the first place as it left the next generation exposed.
"If you have good young players, then they first have to assert themselves against older players of the same quality,” Khedira told Bild. "But if I clear the streets for young players and say: 'You are young, you are a candidate for 2022 or 2024', that for me is absolutely the wrong call.”
Khedira feels Low needs to show mental strength and recall Boateng, Hummels and Muller as he feels identity has been lost.
"The national team has lost a bit of its identity in recent years,” he said. “Through many changes, through many new invitations. The community has slackened a bit.
“Every club stands for something. The national team, on the other hand, is currently looking for what it stands for. That shows that what was started after the 2018 World Cup is not yet bearing fruit."
Khedira also feels there is a disconnect between fans and the national team.
He said: “I would like people to sit in front of the TV again and say: 'Great, Germany is playing.' I know that feeling from my time as a fan.
“I was part of the German fan block at the 2008 European Championship."
Calling on Low to reinstate the trio, he said: “He would be a strong person [if he recalled Boateng, Hummels and Muller].”