Leroy Sane still in Pep Guardiola's plans despite being benched
Written by: Tushaar Sachdeva
The German scored 14 goals and provided 19 assists last season.
After smashing Arsenal in their opening fixture and Huddersfield in the next, Manchester City are sitting at the top of the league with a goal difference of seven goals. The headlines may have all been about the goal scorers but everybody at the Etihad stadium is wondering a sudden benching of Leroy Sane, on which Pep Guardiola has cleared the haze that the player is still in his plans.
Leroy Sane played a key role in Manchester City's Premier League and League Cup triumph alongside being named in the Premier League's young player of the year in April.
Raheem Sterling started on the left wing against Arsenal and Benjamin Mendy against Huddersfield as an attacking wing-back as they thrashed 6-1 in the game week two.
The former Schalke winger was denied a place in Germany's squad for the World Cup and now has seen a very limited time on the field, coming on as a substitute in both the victories. However, the City manager says Sane's chances will come, and that he is not being pushed to the fringes of the squad.
As reported by New Indian Express, he said, "In the past two weeks in training, I've seen the Leroy that I know and we know. I am delighted about that," Guardiola told reporters on Friday.
"You know about his performances in pre-season, he arrived late and now he is getting back to being like Leroy is. We have six excellent strikers and not all of them can play. He is not being left out because we are unhappy with his performance. We have to choose now Mendy is playing wider. That is the reason why. He is ready with his physical condition. He doesn't need much time to get in better condition, it is not about that."
Guardiola hinted the frustration of being left out of the World Cup had caused Sane to lose focus when he returned to City duty in pre-season.
"I understand the disappointment of missing the World Cup – for young players it is an important issue. But in football, and sport and life, there is the next one and the next one. He came back, he was in the United States with us for pre-season and stayed there. He took a little bit more time to settle and now he is ready. " he said.
Guardiola, meanwhile, has come with a challenge of replacing Claudio Bravo. City lost the Chilean player on Monday to an Achilles tendon injury, leaving the club with no experienced back-up for Ederson, their first choice 'keeper, after selling Joe Hart to Burnley and Angus Gunn to Southampton before the English transfer window closed on August 9.
Aro Muric, the Montenegro Under-21 international, has been recalled from a season's loan at Dutch side NAC Breda to act as second choice, with youth graduate Daniel Grimshaw the other keeper in City's squad.
Published: Sat Aug 25, 2018 07:26 PM IST