Having watched his side struggle to break down an impressive Leicester side for just under an hour, Pep Guardiola introduced Leroy Sane to the game on the 56-minute mark, hoping for the usually mesmeric winger to do what he usually does.
16 goals and 18 assists in all competitions this season have Sane up there amongst Europe’s best wide men, where his direct running, close dribbling and enthusiasm to turn his presence in the final third into a goal involvement always catch the spectators’ eye.
However, none of that was on show against the Foxes.
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In just over half an hour on the pitch, Sane barely did anything against the impressive Ricardo Pereira – you may think I’m exaggerating, but the German international literally did almost nothing.
You could forgive most other players for not making an impact in just over 30 minutes, but Sane is special. You only need to look at his stats for the season that I previously mentioned to see that the 23-year-old is a world-class talent.
So, what’s up with him? Does he not work hard enough in training? Does Guardiola not like his attitude? Could it be the fact that he is yet to sign a new contract with his current deal set to expire in 2021? Who knows.
Guardiola knows. “I have said many times how important Leroy has been for us in good or bad moments. He knows the reason why he hasn’t played lately,” according to the Spaniard last month. He’s certainly keeping his cards close to his chest.
Enough speculation, though. Let’s talk about the things we do know. Sane was entrusted by the former Barcelona boss to win an extremely crucial game for his side, something that he did not – barring an otherworldly strike from none other than Vincent Kompany, Sane’s no-show may be being spoken about a bit more.
Kompany won’t always be there to save Sane’s back. The former Schalke man must start taking his chances when they come, or he won’t ever be a consistent starter in this City team.