Manchester City winger Leroy Sane has left the German national squad due to “personal reasons” after a conversation with head coach Joachim Low, the federation has announced.
The news is significant as it brings the strained relationship between Sane and both Low and his teammates back to the forefront. Sane was surprisingly left off Germany’s roster for the World Cup this past summer, despite his spectacular 2017/18 Premier League season. There were suggestions that Sane’s attitude was to blame, although Low also said his playing style did not fit the formations he wished to use.
However, it was suggested by Goal.com writer Ronan Murphy that his absence was not due to a falling out with the manager or his teammate, but instead to be with his girlfriend for the birth of a child. It’s odd, though, that the national team would fail to confirm this otherwise happy bit of personal news for Sane in its announcement of his departure given the obvious connections that could be made after his teammate’s criticism.
German teammate Toni Kroos criticized Sane’s attitude in the squad in the press conference prior to Germany’s 0-0 draw with France, saying, “He’s a player who has everything you need to be a world-class player but sometimes you have to tell him he has to perform better.” To make his point clear, he added, “sometimes you have the feeling with Leroy’s body language that it’s all the same if we win or lose.”
Kroos backtracked from there. “He could be a real weapon for us. I think Leroy is an absolute team player.”
Sane played just seven minutes in the match against France before departing the national team. The 22-year-old has found the new Premier League season difficult as well, contributing just 30 minutes so far through four matches, and finding himself completely left out of the matchday squad for City’s most recent game, a 2-1 win over Newcastle.
Following the Newcastle match, his club manager Pep Guardiola also hinted that Sane needs to improve, but did so in a much more tactful manner, lumping him in with England youngster Raheem Sterling and saying the two must impress in training.
“They [Sane and Raheem Sterling] can do better,” Guardiola said. “I have that feeling. If I didn’t believe it I wouldn’t say, but I think they can in simple things, the dribbling, first control, how you receive the ball and take decisions. It’s training in smaller spaces and focusing on control, because that is the reality that is going to happen.”