Guardiola hails ‘important’ Sane but reiterates Man City bench threat

Leroy Sane is “important” for Manchester City, says Pep Guardiola, but must maintain his focus and form in order to avoid dropping back to the bench.

The 22-year-old winger has started to look more like his old self over recent weeks after coming through the most testing period of his career to date.

Sane’s exploits in 2017-18 saw him claim the Premier League title and PFA Young Player of the Year award, but he was still snubbed by Germany when naming their World Cup squad.

He was then overlooked at club level for the opening four games of the season, before coming back into the fold for City’s last three.

Guardiola is pleased to see Sane shining again, with another assist recorded in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Brighton, but has warned the youngster that he cannot afford to relax after earning a recall.

The Catalan coach said: “He’s played really well in the last games.

“Leroy was important, is important, will be important for us.

“But our profession is so demanding and every single day you have to do your best and in the last two or three games he was really good.

“I want all my players to be focused and when they do that there is no problem at all, when they don’t do that they know what happens.”

While Sane is back in favour with his club boss, he has also been backed by Germany manager Joachim Low to have a vital role to play for the national team over the coming years.

Despite leaving him out of his World Cup plans, Low said in September: “That’s what the decision was like back then, but of course we know that Sane has a good future ahead of him.

“He has outstanding speed, but can still grow as player. [He] came back with great motivation and I hope that he will do well for Germany next month and next year.”

Sane now has one goal and three assists to his name this season, having found the target 14 times and laid on 19 more across all competitions last term.

He will be hoping that he has done enough to keep his place in the City side, while also being given the chance to add to his haul of 13 caps for his country during the next international break.