From insanity to sanity: Leroy Sane is coming of age
Sanity and insanity have always been considered to be two sides of the same coin and going by that belief, it can easily be seen that it doesn’t take much for someone to go from sane to insane. And given how true this is in the case of most people, one can only imagine how truly appropriate it would be in the case of a man who’s actually named ‘Sane’ i.e. Leroy Sane.
The German international has been in fine form for Manchester City so far this season, but truth be told, Sane’s performances would come as a surprise only to those who haven’t followed the youngster’s brief career so far.
The now 21-year-old came through the ranks at Schalke 04 before he made it to the German club’s first team in 2015. And though he spent only two seasons at the Ruhr based club, Sane managed to stake his claim as one of the hottest properties in world football while in Germany, thanks to his incredible pace and immaculate skill.
Given the way Sane rose to prominence at Schalke, it was only a matter of time before one of the big European clubs came looking for his services and the inevitable occurred in 2016 when Manchester City snapped up the youngster on a five-year deal.
The missing piece of the puzzle
Following his move to the Premier League, many expected the German to take the English top-flight by storm, but it didn’t work out that way for Sane. Despite featuring on a regular basis last season under Pep Guardiola, the former Schalke man failed to set the Premier League alight.
However, Sane’s below-par performances in his first season with City was by no means an indicator of the fact that he wouldn’t be able to deliver on the big stage. On the contrary, like so many others before him have done, Sane was simply getting a feel of life in the Premier League last season.
With the kind of ability that the German possesses and the fact that he had the constant backing of his manager, there was never any doubt that Sane would eventually come good for his new club. And his performances so far in his second season have been a testament to that belief.
But it’s not without reason that Sane has flourished this season. For starters, just like the City team, on the whole, Sane too, now understands the demands of Guardiola’s strenuous system much better than he did last season.
But more importantly, at an individual level, the one aspect of Sane’s game which has improved the most this season has been his finishing. In fact, it can easily be said that Sane’s finishing prowess at this stage is better than ever. Not only has Sane found the back of the net on a regular basis this season, some of his goals have been a joy to behold.
For instance, his second strike against Liverpool on his left foot after cutting in from the right, as well as his goal against West Brom. To put things into perspective, Sane’s newly found goal-scoring prowess along with the searing pace and dazzling skill that he possesses make him one of the best attackers in the Premier League and he has certainly proven this to be the case, since the start of the ongoing season.
A deadly duo in the making
Apart from Sane, another Manchester City player whose performances have improved drastically this season for this season is Raheem Sterling. A lot was made of Sterling’s big-money move to City in 2015 after the Englishman failed to live up to expectations at Liverpool.
But Sterling has certainly come into his own this season and in a way, it could be said that Sane’s impressive start to the season is rubbing off on his teammate as well. But whichever way one looks at it, the fact that Sane and Sterling have formed a formidable partnership for City is plain to see. Together, the pair has managed to strike fear into the hearts of opposition defences, particularly the full-backs who have been handed the responsibility of trying to stop them.
From a tactical point of view, both Sane and Sterling have been predominantly played in their natural positions as wingers this season and that has undeniably aided both their performances so far. But while deploying players in their natural positions may be an obvious thing for most clubs to do, what makes this system work so well for City is the fluidity that their frontline possesses.
That is, the likes of Sane and Sterling, along with David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero can all do each other's’ jobs with aplomb as their style of play allows them the freedom to fill in for other and their individual caliber means that they are able to do the needful with considerable flair.
The way things are going for Sane at the moment, he is rightly being touted as not only the future of Manchester City but also the future of German football as a whole. And given his potential and the long career he has ahead of him, Sane could very well rewrite the history books for both club and country.
However, he ought to be careful as it could all change for him in the flip of a coin as sanity and insanity always have and will always be two sides of the same coin.