Arsenal star Mesut Ozil has been dropped by Germany for their forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan.
The playmaker finds himself on the sidelines along with Mario Gotze of Borussia Dortmund and Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira as the World Cup winners aim to finalise their place at Russia 2018.
Ozil has been the subject of criticism so far this season, which is liable to be his last at the Emirates Stadium, where he is out of contract next June.
Former Gunners defender Martin Keown was the latest to have a pop at the 28-year-old, claiming that manager Arsene Wenger can “no longer trust” the former Werder Bremen and Real Madrid star.
The German has played five times so far for the Gunners this season but was only on the bench for Monday’s 2-0 victory over WBA, having suffered knee inflammation a week earlier.
Indeed, it is this issue that has led to head coach Joachim Low leaving him out of the matches, despite the player being available to Wenger for Sunday’s match against Brighton.
“With Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira, I assume that they will be better rested during the international break,” he said. “This is more important to them at the moment. What is crucial to us is that our players are in peak condition next year. “
Although Ozil is absent Low can still call upon a formidable panel of players, including the likes of Premier League stars Emre Can and Leroy Sane, plus Ozil’s Arsenal club-mate Shkodran Mustafi. Real Madrid ace Toni Kroos also makes the panel, along with Bayern Munich players Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Niklas Sule, Thomas Muller and Sebastian Rudy.
Germany have not yet booked their place at the World Cup finals, though a point against Northern Ireland in Belfast would suffice.
Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (PSG)
Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Gladbach), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal), Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha Berlin), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich)
Midfielders: Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Emre Can (Liverpool), Leon Goretzka (Schalke), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern Munich), Julian Draxler (PSG), Leroy Sane (Manchester City), Amin Younes (Ajax)
Forwards: Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Lars Stindl (Borussia Gladbach), Sandro Wagner (Hoffenheim), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)