Manchester City star Leroy Sane has been warned by Germany teammate Toni Kroos that he will not fulfil his enormous potential for club and country unless he improves his attitude.
Sane, the PFA Young Player of the Year last season, failed to make Germany’s World Cup squad this summer despite his key role in City’s gallop to the Premier League title.
This looked like a mistake before the tournament and, when Germany crashed out after three games, Sane’s absence was suggested as a key factor in the defending champions’ poor showing.
The 22-year-old, however, is back in the squad for tonight’s Nations League opener against new world champions France in Munich (7.45pm, live on Virgin Three/Sky Sports Football/Sky Sports Mix).
This recall, however, has come at a time when he appears to have fallen out of favour at City, as he has not started for Pep Guardiola yet this season, and Kroos thinks he knows why.
Speaking to reporters on the eve of the France game, the Real Madrid midfielder said: “Sometimes you have the feeling with Leroy’s body language that it is all the same whether we win or lose. He has to improve his body language.
“He’s a player who has everything you need to be a world-class player but sometimes you have to tell him he has to perform better.
“What is crystal clear is his quality, his pace, his left foot. He was fantastic for City last year but Pep has the same problem at the moment — he’s trying to get the best out of him.
“If he performs, he’s a real weapon. He has the quality, especially for us, but maybe (head coach Joachim Low) looked at his performances for the national team and wasn’t happy.”
Sane is one of five players in Low’s squad for the game against France, and next week’s friendly with Peru, who were not part of the squad in Russia.
With Germany widely perceived to have lacked pace this summer, Sane is tipped to win his 13th senior cap this evening, when a sell-out crowd at the Allianz Arena will be hoping to see Germany successfully reboot after a rare tournament failure.
After another superb season with Real, Kroos was one of Germany’s biggest disappointments at the World Cup, although the 28-year-old did score a memorable last-minute free-kick to give Die Mannschaft their only victory, a 2-1 win over Sweden.
He remains a crucial player for Low, though, and is expected to win his 87th cap against France.
Meanwhile Liverpool have announced Adam Lallana will return to fitness later this month following his withdrawal from the England squad.
Scans have confirmed he suffered only a minor groin strain while training with the national team on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old missed the summer’s World Cup following a season disrupted by injury but is expected to be available again before the end of a month that includes Liverpool’s first Champions League fixture of 2018/19, against Paris St Germain.
“I’m pleased I’ll be back available for Liverpool, both domestically and in the Champions League during September, and then England again for the next break,” Lallana told the club’s official website.
“It’s a minor setback, which isn’t ideal, as I’ve been in great shape until now but it’s positive news that it’s only a brief lay-off.
“I know I can make a significant contribution over the course of a long season and that’s where my focus will remain, with so much to play for.”