Germany boss Joachim Low applauded Serge Gnabry’s “very dangerous” performance in Germany’s 2-2 draw with Argentina on Wednesday but added that his choice to remove him was a protective matter.
The Bayern Munich winger snatched his nation’s opener inside the opening quarter-hour in Dortmund to make it six goals in his last four games for club and country.
Though Kai Havertz added a second, the hosts ultimately surrendered their two-goal lead in the friendly encounter late on, with efforts from Lucas Alario and Lucas Ocampos ensuring Argentina claimed a draw.
Germany turn their attention to a Euro 2020 qualifier with Estonia on Sunday and, speaking to reporters after Wednesday’s game, Low indicated that Gnabry was replaced in order to ensure his involvement in that vital match.
"We didn't want Serge Gnabry playing for 90 minutes," he stated. "He has also played a lot of games lately. He went very fast and covered a lot of ground.
"Serge showed up almost everywhere, was always very dangerous and made the Argentine defence insecure in the first half. That's why it was clear from the outset that we would take him off the pitch after 70 minutes.
"We definitely need him in the next games, and the risk was too big for me that he could still injure himself there."
Gnabry's team-mate Joshua Kimmich wore the armband for his country with Manuel Neuer on the bench and Low offered expansive praise for the 24-year-old’s showing.
The defensive midfielder has won 45 caps since his debut in 2016 and is widely tipped to be the future skipper of his nation once goalkeeper Neuer retires.
"Jo [Kimmich] has been with us a long time," Low added. "He fits in with his personality. He's a role model when it comes to deployment. He is a role model in his whole attitude.
"Meanwhile he also has some experience. He can also verbally lead a team on the pitch. He is very good at organisation and gives instructions.
"He is also always omnipresent on the pitch. So it was clear to me that Jo was captain today."