Serge Gnabry has made it to the very top with Bayern Munich, thanks to his hard work and experience playing alongside Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. - © Simon Hofmann/Bundesliga/DFL via Getty Images
Serge Gnabry has made it to the very top with Bayern Munich, thanks to his hard work and experience playing alongside Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. - © Simon Hofmann/Bundesliga/DFL via Getty Images
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Serge Gnabry an "extraordinary player", says former Werder Bremen coach Alexander Nouri

Hard work, dedication and 'Robbery' are behind the remarkable rise of Bayern Munich winger Serge Gnabry, according to Alexander Nouri – the man who gave him his Bundesliga break at Werder Bremen.

When Gnabry arrived in Germany in 2016, the jury was still out on a player who had convinced many of his teammates at Arsenal – as well as their then coach Arsene Wenger – that he had all the ingredients to become a footballing superstar, while at the time providing only crumbs of tangible evidence that they had seen right.

Nouri, who is now assistant to Jürgen Klinsmann at Hertha Berlin, remembers his first days in Bremen well, and could see why parliament was hung. "He was young and really highly ambitious, but sometimes too impatient," Nouri told BBC Sport. "He was suffering a lot of injuries, so he couldn't consistently work on his physical strength. He wanted to come back as fast as possible."

Alexander Nouri gave Serge Gnabry his first taste of Bundesliga football at Werder Bremen in 2016. - Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images

Amid that frustration, Nouri remembers a player determined to deliver on all his promise, and willing to do all he could to reach the top. That season, their one and only year together, Gnabry netted 11 goals in 27 games for the north German club.

"I remember he often practised finishing with his left foot after team sessions, he took a lot of balls and was working on his weaker foot - now he's scoring a lot of goals with it," Nouri said. "It's not coming out of nothing; it's the fruits of efforts he put in a long time ago.

"If you choose this way you need to commit to a lifestyle of how much effort you put in, you need to work and live for this way and my feeling was he totally committed to this. That's how he became an extraordinary player."

That was only part of it.

Gnabry caught Bayern's eye and moved there in 2017, although his journey first took him on a loan spell to Hoffenheim, where he found further consistency, scoring 10 goals and supplying seven assists in just 22 Bundesliga outings.

When he arrived in Munich, he was almost ready for the final step to stardom. Almost.

Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben were both bringing their illustrious careers in Munich to an end, and they had plenty of wisdom to impart on a young winger who was absorbing everything on the training field, ever looking to refine his own game, as Nouri explains.

"He is lightning quick, a clinical finisher, but he puts a lot of work now into his defence - that was something he was missing before," Nouri said. "Now he's making these deep runs back to his own box defending. He's capable of doing this work while on the other hand making deep runs in attack.

"Before he wasn't able to do it because of a lack of strength physically. After a long period with no injuries, he was able to build up that strength - now he's a complete player. He just needs to prove this over a longer period to become a top international star."

Watch: Gnabry on fire with five goals in 14 days

Time is on Gnabry's side, with the 24-year-old still several years shy of what is considered a footballer's prime.

Yet he already has one Bundesliga title, one DFB Cup and two English FA Cups in the trophy cabinet, and with four goals and four assists in his 12 Bundesliga outings to date this season, he is doing his utmost to ensure more medals adorn his neck next summer and beyond.