By Joe Harker
Last season for Manchester City, Leroy Sane scored 14 goals and notched 19 assists in 49 games and won the PFA Young Player of the Year award. He would get into almost any international team preparing to head for the World Cup, but he has been left out of Germany's squad in a shocking omission by manager Joachim Low, who picked Julian Brandt instead.
ESPN suggests that Germany may as well be handed the World Cup if their squad is good enough to leave out Sane. They go into the competition looking to defend their trophy and have left out players that other nations would snap up in a heartbeat. Sane not going to the World Cup may seem like a strange decision but it is also a testament to the strength of the squad.
Fans have been shocked by Low's decision, asking why a player who has more combined goals and assists than anyone who made the Germany squad was left out. They are puzzled why the manager would opt for Brandt rather than Sane, with the latter clearly ahead in terms of goals scored and created.
However, Low is a World Cup winning manager and knows his squad inside out. Sane's incredible club form has not translated to impressive displays for his country. He has made 12 appearances for the national team with no goals and only one assist, creating on average one chance per game. He has also appeared in six of the last seven Germany games, so perhaps Low thinks Sane has had plenty of chances to impress for his country.
Brandt on the other hand creates more chances for his country, though he still only has one goal and two assists in 15 appearances for Germany. It was a "photo finish" between the two players for the final spot in the squad, underlining how close the decision was.
One key factor might be the differences between Sane's role for his club and his country. He plays left wing for both teams but for Manchester City he often stays wide, giving him more space to work with and less pressure from the opposition. With Germany he is asked to move into more central areas where he has less space to operate and more opponents around him.
Low said Sane "has not fully arrived in the national team games", likely tipping the balance towards Brandt. When going to a World Cup the manager needs to know that his players fit into the team and will deliver, Sane has yet to do that for Germany and despite all his talent it could end up being the right choice to leave him at home.