Euro 2016 Player Preview: Leroy Sane - A jewel in the German Crown
Most of us would be sitting at home, playing on our respective consoles (no bias) and eating snacks at the age of 19 or 20. Out of 1.2 billion teenagers in the world , there ought to be a few of them who already have the world at their feet. Meet Leroy Sane, a German right winger with a potential to become one of the best players in the not-so- distant future. Currently a ‘jewel in the crown’ of the German giants Schalke 04,
Sane has already proved to the club that he can be entrusted with the first team spot. Being selected for the German senior team in the Euro 2016, Leroy Sane, just being 19-years-old, will be playing alongside World Cup Champions and compatriots Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Mesut Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gotze, Thomas Muller, etc.. just to name a few. Sane will really be hoping to make a big impact for Die Mannschaft in France.
Son of former Senegal striker Souleyman Sane, Leroy Sane initially played in the youth-team of a small German club called SG Wattenscheid 09 before he was scouted and recruited by Schalke 04, where he was quickly added into the youth-team.
In March, 2014 he signed a 3-year deal with Die Konigsblauen (The Royal Blues). He made his official first-team debut about a month later and created waves of impact from the next successive season onwards. Just 19 years of age when he was thrown head-first into first team football, he played 13 games for The Royal Blues and scored 3 goals , the most memorable one being against Real Madrid in the 4-3 victory against the Los Blancos in the Champions League.
And of course, his hard work had to be rewarded. Leroy Sane won the “Best Newcomer of the Year award 2015/16” as per his team-mates’ votes. Well, possessing thunderous pace, good ball control, good dribbling, tactical intelligence and balance, it was obvious that the home fans could not wait to see how Leroy Sane would perform in the upcoming season.
And of course, with the arrival of the 15/16 season, one of the most highly anticipated youngsters did nothing else but perform well. Blasting throughout the pitch with his blistering pace, winning one-on-one situations with mind-boggling dribbling skills, and with good passing abilities, Sane was an invaluable asset to the German side, scoring 8 goals in 33 games and assisting 6 times in the Bundesliga alone.
After Impressive seasons at Schalke 04, Leroy Sane received a call-up for the German U-19 team in 2014 where he played 11 games and scored 8 goals. Later, he received a call-up to the U-21 team in 2015 where he played 6 games and scored 5 goals.
Sane has been selected for the German Senior Men’s team for the Euros 2016 and will be looking to replicate his tremendous club from on-to the international stage.
Position: Right Winger
Strengths: Possessed with lightning speed and being a dribbling powerhouse, Sane can run rings around the meanest of defences. The German possesses tremendous ball control and can pass with accuracy.
Sane has the rare ability to unleash powerful shots with his mean left foot. Sane is fearless with the ball and is constantly looking to manufacture a yard or two of space to attack the opposing defenders. However, he displays the maturity to retain the ball whilst other players of his age group seldom would.
Weakness: Sane could work a tad more on his aerial abilities as he has one of the least impressive records of retaining the ball from the air. Although Sane is deemed to be a decent passer of the ball, his crossing abilities are not yet upto the mark with only 43% of his crosses finding his teammates in the 2015-16 Bundesliga season.
Sane’s physical ability is a major worry. Even though he weighs a solid 166 pounds (75 kg), Sane gets man-handled by opposition defenders. He needs to work on some these skills if he wants to glue his name in the German squad for the next decade.
Career High: Sane won the Bundesliga ‘Best newcomer of the year’ award for the 2015-16 season. He was the second highest goalscorer and had the joint-highest number of assists for Shalke in the German League.
Quotes: “A lot of players don’t keep their heads on the ground, because they know they can earn money quickly. Leroy won’t do that. He is grounded. If he brings fight, then he will earn his place” , papa Souleyman Sane speaks highly of his son.
Germany are placed in Group C along with Poland, Ukraine and Northern Ireland.
With the absence of wingers Marco Reus and Karim Bellarabi from the Euro 2016 squad, Sane has a very good chance of starting every game for the World Champions at his preferred position, right-wing.
If Joachim Low decides to start with Sane, the latter would add tremendous agility and exuberance to the squad. Using his Robben-like ability of cutting back and crossing/having a shot at goal, Leroy Sane could well and truly be onto something which would be an extraordinary story to tell our kids.