It is hard to believe Leroy Sane is still only 23 as the Manchester City winger gets ready to meet his former employers Schalke once again in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie at the Etihad stadium.
Sane was the one of the difference makers for Pep Guardiola’s men in the first-leg at Germany with his 85th minute equaliser before Raheem Sterling struck in injury time to a seal a 3-2 win for City.
Schalke will only know too well what to expect from Sane in the second-leg with the youngster first carving a name for himself with the Bundesliga club. Now into his third season with Manchester City, the left-footed winger is continuing to hit the heights his early career at Schalke had promised.
In the current campaign, Sane has already racked up a staggering 13 goals and 14 assists in his 35 appearances across all competitions for Manchester City. The German had been a pivotal figure in City’s record-breaking Premier League campaign in 2017-18 and his 40 appearances across all competitions had yielded 14 goals and 19 assists.
That Sane is already close to overhauling his excellent numbers from last season speaks volumes about his development and progress. He has maintained his prolific output despite seeing a reduction in game time in the ongoing season.
Such are the vast resources under Guardiola’s disposal that Sane did not feature in last month’s Premier League clashes against Arsenal and Chelsea. That, however, is no slight to Sane who has been described as the best winger in the world by his own boss.
“Leroy, I think, is the best player in the world [playing] wide and making runs in behind,” Guardiola said recently about the protégé.
“We prefer to use him where he is strong. His strength, I believe, is wider – one against one. There I think he is an incredible player."
The Spaniard is not wrong in his assessment with only Eden Hazard coming close to Sane’s numbers this season when it comes to wingers. With age on his side, there is no reason that Sane cannot go on to touch even greater heights and City will be glad they shelled out the big bucks to secure him three years ago.