Sané’s second chance

Before the World Cup, Leroy Sané was surprisingly sorted out, but now he is one of the hopes of the national team. This also includes the image correction.

There are better situations than talking about you while you’re there yourself. Leroy Sané is “certainly not weak in character, so I’ll have to take a stand for him,” said Julian Draxler. Sané sat next to Draxler at the press conference, taking note of his team-mate’s declaration of honour without much facial expressions.

The 22-year-old and the national team, that’s a strange two-man relationship. Since 2015, the Manchester City pro has been part of the lion’s circle, and 13 international matches have come out since his debut. You can’t say that these games have been a success story so far.

The low point: Before the World Cup, national coach Sané surprisingly left home. It was said that this was not only for sporting reasons. That could only be so: the former Schalker had finally completed an extremely impressive Premier League season in terms of sport, from which he emerged as the best young player. Many people didn’t understand that Löw would be doing without such a jewel.

His appearance with us “wasn’t always what we had in mind,” says Löw’s assistant Marcus Sorg, “but we shouldn’t forget that he’s still a very, very young person. He had been accused of arrogance in the national team behind closed eyes of Sané, who did not follow the coach’s instructions on the pitch”.

In the team itself, he had taken little care to increase his popularity values. After not being nominated, he had removed his label of the spoiled professional youngster in parts of the public. Of course, who has such a back tattoo. The motive: Leroy Sané celebrating the goal.

Leroy Sané Honours 

Manchester City

  • Premier League: 2017–18 
  • EFL Cup: 2017–18 
  • FA Community Shield: 2018 

Individual

  • PFA Young Player of the Year: 2017–18
  • Premier League Player of the Month: October 2017 

Premier League spin rider

Sané on a make-up tour

He had regularly blocked requests for interviews from journalists with the national team, and even the “Bild” newspaper, which otherwise opens all doors for the DFB, came across granite.

The fact that he is now sitting in front of the press before the international match against the Netherlands in the Nations League on Saturday (8.45 pm live ticker SPIEGEL ONLINE) can be counted among the attempts to make amends that the association and players praised after the World Cup. But Sané doesn’t have too much to say about why there hasn’t been a spark between him and the national team so far.

“I’m working on improving myself. Or: “I hope I’ll get more time on the pitch and can show myself off.” And: “I have no problem with open criticism, it even motivates me”. That’s what Sané offers in terms of insights.

Sané doesn’t really fit into the Löw system, was tried before the World Cup as an auxiliary argument for not being nominated. Which is surprising: He fits perfectly into the system of club coach Pep Guardiola, and the fact that Guardiola and Löw followed a similar playing philosophy in the past is not a big football secret either.

In his World Cup analysis, which he presented after a mature period of silence, Löw himself flagellated himself precisely because of this philosophy, speaking of an “almost arrogant” attitude to enforce his system of game dominance by all means. It is one of the anecdotal footnotes that Sané should start a new beginning in the DFB team right now, when the national coach preaches a renunciation of Guardiola’s ball possession system.

When Sané joined the national team, it was usually said: That’s a type of player who does things differently, one for the surprise effect and one who leaves the corset. Interestingly, before the World Cup, he was accused of doing just that. He was not adaptable enough.

In the summer, of course, I thought about why it hasn’t worked that way for the national team yet,” Sané said, without giving any further information about the results of this thinking process. One thing is clear: He and Leipzig’s Timo Werner are perfect counterparts, ideal for Löw’s propagated system in which the team has to switch over faster. Read Spin Rider‘s review to know more details about them.

And they are also determined. Goal-scoring was no longer part of the team’s core competence. “Nobody can deny that we played a very good, refreshing football with many goals before the World Cup,” says Sorg. He is annoyed, however, by “the naturalness with which it is assumed that we win every game 5:0, 6:0”. This concern can be taken away from the co-trainer. After this year’s performances, in which the eleven scored no more than two goals in any game, nobody takes that for granted.

Draxler says that the German offensive has recently been “too slow, too slow”. Sané is one of those who are supposed to resolve this situation. Too slow, at least nobody can accuse him of that. Leroy Sané says: “I’ll do everything I can to ensure that Jogi Löw doesn’t have any chance of not nominating me next time”. Goals to international matches would be a good way of doing that.