Yes, you read this headline correctly — Manchester City starlet, Leroy Sane, has been omitted from Germany’s final 23-man World Cup squad. The winger, 22, was included in Joachim Löw’s 27-strong provisional squad, but was one of the four cut, along with Bernd Leno, Jonathan Tah and Nils Petersen. It seems as though Sane’s immensely impressive tally of 14 goals and 19 assists across all competitions wasn’t enough to persuade Die Mannschaft to hand the Premier League champion a place aboard the plane — a truly baffling decision.
Brandt v Sane: no comparison on paper
Löw’s choice is made all-the stranger when you delve deeper into the players selected ahead of Manchester City’s #19. Sure, Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt is an excellent footballer in his own right. However, he’s scored nine goals this term, tacking on seven assists for his teammates.In this respect, Brandt’s statistics are not even close to Sane’s combined total of 33 goal contributions, in a double-winning side, no less.
Germany’s squad is packed with stars who can float to various positions in-behind the striker. Julian Draxler can do that, as can Marco Reus. The former had an average season for Paris Saint-Germain, whereas Reus endured another injury-hit campaign. What’s frustrating is that Sane can drift across the final third as good as anyone; and he’s enjoyed a far better season than his Bundesliga counterparts.
Let’s not forget, we’re talking about the reigning PFA Young Player of the Year here. Sane has truly been a breath of fresh air over the last twelve months, and for such a spectacular season to end in such bitter disappointment just doesn’t seem fair. The City winger possesses unique skill-set. The way he glides past defenders with consummate ease is a privilege to watch. He’s capable of getting the crowd on their feet with a moment of individual brilliance.
I don’t want to hear anything about his defensive abilities, either. Sane works harder than anyone for Manchester City and I see no reason as to why he cannot do that for his country. He’s surprisingly strong in the tackle, he’ll always track his runner and he isn’t afraid to get physical if the one-on-one battle arises. All things considered, there is little Sane cannot do.
A question of style?
At this point in time, the only reason I can somewhat understand Löw’s decision-making is the fact that Sane doesn’t really fit into Germany’s style. But isn’t the point in having such a sizeable squad to bring different ideas to the table? The Manchester City attacker is more than able to be the difference in the late-game situation. His impressive speed, skill, and balance allows him to create opportunities out of nothing, which could be absolutely vital in the tight-knit knockout matches that Germany will inevitably be involved in.
If Germany are trying to cause a bit of controversy, they’ve certainly achieved it. Sure, at least one high-calibre player was always going to be watching the World Cup from home, but it certainly shouldn’t have been Sane. I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest the Schalke 04 academy product is up there amongst the best wingers on planet earth, while he’s only going to get better under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage.
I’m looking forward to hearing what Löw has to say about this one during his next meeting with the media, and although City fans will be feeling hard done by right now – at least their superstar left-winger will get the summer off, meaning he’ll be fully fit and raring to go come the start of their Premier League title defence. With that said, I cannot help but feel the World Cup would have been a much brighter place with Sane in it.