Leroy Sané has become one of the Premier League’s most exciting young players since his arrival at Manchester City from Schalke in 2016.
The German international signed for an initial £37million with add-ons to follow, but his value has skyrocketed since after his dazzling displays for Pep Guardiola’s side.
It’s clear that Pep Guardiola is already having a huge impact on Sané, improving his overall game. And the 22-year-old revealed just how thorough Pep is.
“He changed my whole play. In Germany, my focus was mainly on dribbling,” Leroy told Die Welt. “Now, Pep pays close attention to every detail in my play: the way I move, in which open spaces I run, how I work defensively, how I position myself defensively.
“All this help me to find open spaces for my teammates and to put myself in a better position on the pitch. Pep raises me on a new level.”
Working with Guardiola is a challenging experience for any player. The Catalan is a perfectionist and tries to get every ounce of potential out of his squad.
Sané about working with Guardiola: “The trainers sometimes come up to me and show me videos with my mistakes. Especially Pep tries to make every player better. He often shows me skills of players he trained in the past. For example, he asked me to have a detailed look at how Messi manages one-on-one-situations, and how he moves.“
He is tipped to become one of the best players in the world, but Sané’s feet remain very much on the ground and he refuses to hear comparisons to Messi and Ronaldo, or even his close friend Mesut Özil.
“I`m still far from being on their level. In the whole world, only a few players do: Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar and Hazard are on a level, no one else currently can compete with.
“The achievements of Özil and Cavani are incredible, too. I’m not yet that far. To play with freedom, I mainly need fun. I don’t think and I don’t set specific goals for a game. I just let things happen. If I clear my mind, everything else just happens.“
Many imports in the past – most recently Nolito, who infamously said his daughter’s face changed colour as if she had been “living in a cave” – have struggled to settle in the cold north of England, but Leroy is loving life in Manchester, and enjoys the manner of Mancunian people.
“I can find here everything I need. I can go shopping, I can go out with friends in the evening and the people are very relaxed.
“That’s the difference to life in Germany where people on the street sometimes run straight towards you. Britons are very respectful. If they want to take a photo, they ask politely. Everything is a little bit more quiet here.”
Bundesliga kings Bayern Munich have a policy of trying to snap up the best young German talent, and Sané was on their radar before he opted for the Etihad instead. He explained the rationale behind his move, and also revealed the advice hs received from Pep’s former protégé Joshua Kimmich.
“I appreciate that Bayern always wants to have the best German talents,” Leroy said. “But I was more attracted by the foreign country and by the chance to play in a team of the best trainer in the world.
“When Pep called me and told me that he wants me on his team, I instantly knew: ‘I want to join him.’ I followed his time at Barcelona, at Bayern and I played with Schalke against him. I recognised that he makes every player better.
“I also talked with Joshua Kimmich about Guardiola in this time. He also advised me: ‘Leroy, if Guardiola calls you and tells you that he wants you on his team, do it.'”
Finally, Leroy was asked about City’s ambitions and he reckons the Blues can win the lot.
“We’re playing such a great season. If we continue to play on this level, I think that we can win everything: Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.”
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