Mario Gotze has pledged to use his World Cup snub to help push himself to new heights as a player as the Borussia Dortmund midfielder prepares for the new Bundesliga campaign.
Gotze was the man who handed Germany a first World Cup in 24 years when he scored the exta-time winner against Argentina in the 2014 final.
His career has since tailed off though, due to injuries and “metabolic disturbances” and he missed out on a place in Joachim Low’s squad for Russia this year.
The 26-year-old, who managed 26 Bundesliga appearances across the 2017-18 season – two fewer than he accumulated across the 2015-16 and 2016-17 campaigns combined – found missing the cut tough to take but has vowed to utilise his omission to drive him onwards.
“I have to grow from that. I have to accept it as an experience that can help me tackle the future and reach the next level,” Gotze told Welt am Sonntag.
“I knew about it a day beforehand, but I had a feeling before that. When I was not selected for the friendlies against Spain and Brazil at the end of March I thought it could happen.
“So it was not completely surprising for me, but it was still hard.”
Gotze subsequently missed out on one of his country’s most humiliating World Cup campaigns in history as the holders were knocked out in the group stages following shock defeats to Mexico and South Korea.
Their elimination was the earliest in the tournament for 80 years, though Gotze is quick to defend his international team-mates and stress that they have been unfairly criticised.
“After the win against Sweden I thought, ‘Yes, now they are on track.’ It’s hard to judge why it didn’t work,” he said.
“But I don’t think you should speak badly of the team now, because they were simply too successful in recent years and will probably be back in the future. We shouldn’t forget that.”
Gotze and Dortmund start their domestic season with a DFB Cup tie against Furth on August 20 before they host RB Leipzig in the opening round of the Bundesliga six days later on August 26.