David Bates has already improved as a player after switching to Hamburg from Rangers this summer, according to Scotland Under-21 boss Scot Gemmill.
The 21-year-old centre-half played 20 times last season for the Ibrox side but elected to join the club relegated to the Bundesliga's second tier.
"He's gone to Germany and has moved out of his comfort zone," Gemmill, whose side face Andorra on Thursday, said.
"You can already see his game intelligence has developed."
Bates has started all three of Hamburg's league matches and has now been rewarded with his first Scotland Under-21 call-up for the European Championship qualifiers against Andorra and Netherlands.
"David was a player we tried to involve while he was still a Rangers player, but towards the end of his time at Ibrox, he was unavailable through injury," Gemmill said.
Bates, who began his career with East Stirlingshire and joined Rangers from Raith Rovers in August 2016, has impressed the Scotland Under-21 boss with his decision to test himself on foreign soil.
"It's not just on the pitch that has to be correct," he said. "How you grow off the pitch is vital too and taking on such a big responsibility will make David much more mature both on and off the pitch.
"If you also factor in the size of the club that he has joined, the expectancy of playing in front of 50,000 people every home game will add to that.
"He's obviously experienced that at Rangers too, but there is no doubt, in terms of his development, there is no place to hide at Hamburg."