Philipp Lahm has said in a blog post on the social media platform LinkedIn that current German boss Joachim Low needs to change his leadership style in order to succeed once again, after Germany's shock World Cup exit.
The 34-year-old wrote: "I am convinced that Jogi Löw has to change his collegial leadership style of recent years if he wants to succeed again with the new generation of internationals.
"This is not a sign of weakness, but of further development. He must show individuals that they are responsible for the entire team."
Many had tipped the Germans to win their second consecutive World Cup, but with group stage defeats to Mexico and South Korea Low's side were sent packing ealry.
The group stage exit was Germany's first in 80 years, as they slumped to their lowest ever goal tally in at a World Cup.
Lahm, who made 113 appearances for Die Mannschaft, noted that players must be held accountable for the nation's poor performances this summer.
The defender also believes the hostile receptions Ozil and Gundogan were receiving prior to the World Cup, due to them having a photo with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had a detrimental effect on the national team.
He said: "Ozil [and initially also Gundogan] felt no need to speak out and explain themselves in public.
"This necessity should have been communicated quickly and clearly in order to improve the harmony portrayed to the outside - and to the inside."
Despite a disastrous World Cup campaign, the former German captain is feeling optimistic about the future of German football if the German coach can change his style.
He added: "If he succeeds, I am very optimistic about the future of our team."