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'Sane obviously wasn’t up to the standard of what he expected from him'

Ex-Liverpool star Didi Hamann was surprised at the Man City youngster’s exclusion from the Germany squad.

A picture showing Leroy Sane taken off the wall of the German soccer museum in Dortmund after he was omitted from the national team's 2018 World Cup squad.
A picture showing Leroy Sane taken off the wall of the German soccer museum in Dortmund after he was omitted from the national team's 2018 World Cup squad.
Image: AP/PA Images

DIDI HAMANN WAS one of the many people surprised by the recent exclusion of Leroy Sane from Germany’s World Cup squad.

The 22-year-old joined Man City from Schalke for £37 million in 2016.

This season, in particular, the winger has been a revelation for Pep Guardiola’s side, helping them achieve a record-breaking Premier League triumph and winning PFA Young Player of the Year in the process.

Speaking at the launch of RTÉ’s World Cup coverage earlier, former Liverpool and Germany star Hamann suggested Sane paid the price for some sub-par performances with the national team.

“I didn’t expect it, but he didn’t play well the last two games against Brazil and Austria, and this is where he’s very strong and strict, the manager [Joachim Löw].

“If he doesn’t think he’ll help the team or he’s not in a position now to help the team, maybe in a year or two years’ time, then he leaves him out. I wouldn’t say it was a shock, but a lot of people were surprised.”

Marco Reus had been a doubt in recent times, but having returned to fitness and form last February following serious injury problems, Hamann feels the Dortmund star’s position in the squad was never in doubt.

Reus was always going if he’s fit, the decision as a manager was between [Julian] Brandt and Sane. I would have taken both. I would have left [Leon] Goretzka or [Julian] Draxler behind, because Sane is one of the few players who’s got out-and-out pace, and I think we lack that a little bit. For that reason, I would have taken him.

“He’s been outstanding last season, but that just goes to show, the manager is not interested. Obviously, he watches them for their club, the reason he was picked in the first place was he was doing well for his club, but in the two weeks they played together in the games they played, [Sane] obviously wasn’t up to the standard of what he expected from him, hence he left him out.”

FC Cologne vs SC Freiburg Dietmar Hamann will be part of RTÉ's 2018 World Cup coverage. Source: DPA/PA Images

Hamann, meanwhile, also expects Bayern Munich stopper Manuel Neuer to feature prominently for Germany, having overcome fitness worries.

“If he’s fit, if he’s 100%, or 95, 98%, and he did well against Austria, he’s been training for a few weeks now, you’ve got to play him. If you take him you’ve got to play him, if you don’t think of playing him then don’t take him, it’s one or the other.

“Because if he’s there, he is the best goalkeeper we’ve got. We are very fortunate, blessed, to have a number two like [Marc-André] ter Stegen. But if Neuer’s there, he’s got to play.”

A less heralded name to be included in the squad is 22-year-old forward Timo Werner. With Mario Gomez the only other out-and-out forward in the Germany squad, the inexperienced youngster, who has seven goals from 13 international caps, could have an important role to play.

Hamann, however, feels Werner still has plenty to prove at the highest level.

“I think it will be a learning curve, because he’s played one season of Champions League and he’s improved a lot in terms of stature, in terms of personality, but this is a different ball game,” he said.

It will be interesting… I couldn’t tell you that I will be confident that he will be a success, because against physical presence sometimes in the past, you know nobody likes it, but I don’t think he likes it at all.

“You’ve got to be a certain type of character to stand your ground on the biggest stage, and in Mexico, Sweden and South Korea, we’ve got three physical teams we’re playing against, so it will be a huge test. I think we’ll know a lot more about him after the World Cup. At this moment in time, I’ve got my doubts about him.”

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Paul Fennessy

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