World Cup 2018: Why Leroy Sane's omission makes sense for Germany
The football world was in collective awe and pundits were scratching their heads when Germany national team coach Joachim Löw announced his official squad to defend their FIFA World Cup title in Russia. What was expected to be a formality turned into a fracas when the manager was finished announcing the 23-man squad.
The reason: Löw had just announced that he had left out the best young talent on show in the Premier League this season, Leroy Sané, the reigning PFA Young Player of the Year, who had 10 league goals and 15 assists to his name.
Reporters were left scratching their heads, as they wondered whether there was a mistake in the list they received. How could the manager even possibly think of leaving out a talent such as Sané in favour of Julian Draxler and Julian Brandt, who, with no offence to them, are both inferior players in comparison to him?
Löw tried to make some sense of the decision by claiming that it was a photo finish between him and Brandt, with the Leverkusen man just edging it due to certain factors which were valid but not justifiable enough for Manchester City and Germany supporters, who are still critical of their manager for leaving their most talented young player back home.
Löw is a pragmatist, whose focus is on the present rather than future. He is a manager who prefers players who have performed for him in the past and those who can fit into the team and system he deploys. This is where Sané lost the race to Brandt.
Sané has not replicated his stellar club form for his national team and has failed to connect with his teammates in opportunities he has been given. He has played 12 matches for his national team so far, not recording a single goal or assist.
Another major reason mentioned was that Brandt had gone to the Confederations Cup, a year earlier, which Sane pulled out of to have nose surgery.
That rookie mistake did not go down well with the German Football Association and his national team manager, who expected more commitment from him and this was point where he seemed to have lost the trust of Löw.
The most important reason which Löw mentioned, though, was that he had to keep the balance of the squad and could not warrant leaving a defensive player at home for an extra attacking player.
Low name-checked Thomas Muller and Marco Reus as his preferred starters on either flank, with Draxler and Brandt to be used as impact substitutes and Sané would not have been happy with a bit-part role, disrupting the harmony within the squad, which is the last thing a manager needs during a major tournament.
In international tournaments, teams often play cautiously, looking to minimize the risks by defending deep and not allowing the space and possibility of isolating defenders in one-versus-one areas - where Sané is world class - which partly explains the City winger's struggles.
Another reason is that Sane is not suited for the more controlled and slow build up style favored by Germany, as he is not able to run at defenders and isolate them like he did so effectively at Man City last season.
In short, Löw picked players who were more suited and have played before in the style he is going to implement and Sané's performances for Germany so far simply did not warrant his selection over Draxler and Brandt. Fans and pundits might point to his club performances this season but international football is a different ball game which does not suit his present playing style.
Löw is paid to make the tough decisions and he has made a huge one with the exclusion of Sané, but he is not 'In-Sané' to leave him out as the reasons above vindicate.
After all, football is a team game and if you are not able to gel with your teammates on the field, there is no use in picking him even if he insanely talented as Sané.
The views expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent the views of Sportskeeda.