Germany coach Hansi Flick has sounded the alarm over his country's youth development.
After insisting that he wasn't looking for excuses for his team's failed World Cup campaign, Flick called for changes to be made to the way young players are being developed in Germany.
"We have players who play for top clubs, and we should be have made it through. But with that being said, I think it's important for the future of German football that we simply do different things in training," Flick told reporters.
"We've been crying out for a No. 9 and strong full-backs for years. Defending has always distinguished German football. Those are the kind of elements we need in the youth sector. A team like Spain – even if they lost tonight – has a good grounding and is well-schooled. They simply know how to handle the ball. They are well trained tactically on top of that.
"I think that for the future, for the next 10 years, it's just enormously important that we take the right steps."
Germany general manager Oliver Bierhoff spoke in the same vein as Flick, agreeing that mistakes have been made when it comes to nurturing young talent.
"Mistakes were already made 10 years ago and then again only two years ago. We rested on our laurels for too long, and we're feeling the effects of that now. Certain qualities are missing, but we had a good squad, I don't want to pin it on that," Bierhoff said.
In a recent exclusive interview with Bulinews, Bayer Leverkusen managing director for sport Simon Rolfes also raised concern about Germany's development of young talent.
"For me, it would be easier if 80 percent of our squad came from our academy or from Germany in general. Then we wouldn’t have to scout as much, and we would be more efficient. But we have a bit of a problem to face with the German youth development and the German market if we look at the top class. We don't have the same talent pool as Spain and France, who are both incredible. We are struggling a bit at the moment," Rolfes told Bulinews.com.
"Our development has to improve in general. We will always have talents like [Florian] Wirtz and [Kai] Havertz and have a good national team. But if you look at France, for example, there are some guys that didn’t make their World Cup squad, who would be able to play in the starting eleven for Germany. Things were different in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Back then, Germany had a big possible squad, but that will not be the case in the next years."