(Reuters) - Former West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis said he struggled to get Serge Gnabry fit for under-21 matches during the winger’s loan spell at the club but hailed his amazing transformation at Bayern Munich following his Champions League heroics on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old former Arsenal player scored four goals in the second half as German giants Bayern beat Tottenham Hotspur 7-2 in the Champions League to hand them their heaviest home defeat in Europe.
Pulis, who took Gnabry on loan for a short stint in 2015-16 before the player moved to Werder Bremen and then Bayern, said that the Germany winger had finally fulfilled his potential.
“I’m amazed. We had him at West Brom, we took him on loan and we could never get him fit. He got taken off in an under-21 game,” Pulis told Sky Sports.
Gnabry managed only three senior games at the Hawthorns, two of which were in the League Cup, in an unsuccessful loan spell at The Hawthorns before returning to north London.
“He went back to Arsenal and they sold him on. He was a good kid... didn’t mind him at all. He’s fulfilled his potential. You can knock me over with a feather,” Pulis added.
“Having worked with him at West Brom and seeing him there to what he’s done is just absolutely amazing. When people show what they can really do... really knuckle down and become so good, as he’s done, it’s absolutely fantastic.”
Shortly after helping Bayern become the first team to score seven goals away to Tottenham in any competition, Gnabry said the result was a message to the rest of Europe.
He had another one on Twitter for fans of his former employers Arsenal, writing: “North London is RED!!!”
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty