Following his amazing display in the Champions League against his former in Germany during the week, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has hailed Leroy Sane as ‘the best wide player in the world’ before revealing he has no plans to convert him into a central attacker. The Man City boss would prefer to see the German star remain on the wing rather than in a more central role, given his huge impact from the flanks.
The 23-year-old has enjoyed a stellar 2018-19 campaign so far, contributing 14 goals and nine assists in 31 appearances across all competitions. Despite his age, Sane’s confidence in possession and decision making has earned him a regular spot in Guardiola’s starting XI. Ahead of City’s Carabao Cup final showdown with Chelsea on Sunday, the Spanish boss was asked if he might consider using Sane in a more central role in the future, following in the footsteps of Bernardo and David Silva.
Both men played as wingers in the earlier stages of their career, before switching into the middle of the park as more conventional playmakers. Guardiola responded: “He’s not ready to play in the middle now, you have to be so good to control the spaces. Maybe in the future. Sane is the best in the world playing out wide. I’d prefer to use him where he is strongest, he’s an incredible player. I’m not saying he can’t (play in middle) but at the moment we have better players to do that job.” His inability to play in the middle has seen Sane drop to the bench in recent games.
City are chasing an unprecedented quadruple this season, sitting top of the Premier League and through to the latter stages of both the FA Cup and the Champions League. Retaining the Carabao Cup is the first step towards achieving their ultimate goal and the defending champions are favourites to lift the trophy two weeks on from mauling Chelsea 6-0 in the Premier League. Sane is in line to start against the Blues, having impressed coming on as a substitute against Schalke on Wednesday.
The Germany international scored a stunning free-kick which helped City emerge with a 3-2 first leg victory in their last-16 European clash , four days after also finding the net during a 4-1 win at Newport County in the FA Cup. Manchester City will resume Premier League duties next Wednesday, with a home game against West Ham to take in before an away trip against Bournemouth to negotiate the following Saturday.