Berlin (AFP) – Manchester City winger Leroy Sane said on Wednesday that he plans to use his World Cup disappointment as motivation and seize his chance to impress Germany coach Joachim Loew in the upcoming Nations League clashes against the Netherlands and France.
After being voted the Premier League’s Young Player of the Year last season, Sane, 22, was a surprise omission from the Germany squad that then crashed at the World Cup group stage.
After playing just seven minutes off the bench in Germany’s goalless Nations League draw against France in Munich last month, Sane, a left winger, missed the 2-1 friendly win over Peru in Sinsheim for the birth of his daughter.
Now, with Germany’s first-choice left winger, Marco Reus, out with a knee injury, Sane could well have his chance to prove himself against Holland in Amsterdam on Saturday, then France in Paris next Tuesday.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about the summer and trying to improve my game so that the next time ‘Jogi’ (Loew) will not be able to leave me out,” Sane told a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday.
“Of course, I was disappointed not to have been at the World Cup, it just makes me more motivated. I want to improve every day.
“I’m working on being a better fit for the team, also in terms of tactics.”
Sane, who made his international debut in 2015, has been in Germany’s match day squad 19 times and collected 13 caps, starting six games and coming off the bench seven times.
Loew implied Sane’s lack of defensive work in his pre-World Cup appearances for Germany was why he missed the chance to play at Russia 2018 and assistant coach Marcus Sorg expanded on the theme.
“Leroy has always been committed, one way or another, it may not have always been how we wanted it, but we have to remember that he’s a young person, he has coped well and he’s where he needs to be,” said Sorg.
Sane says the birth of his daughter has matured him, “now I have to also bear some responsibility away from the pitch. I am always pleased to see her when I come home”.
After the double blows of the woeful World Cup performance and Mesut Ozil’s scathing retirement from the Germany set-up, making accusations of racism and disrespect, the German FA (DFB) has launched a charm offensive.