has launched a passionate defence of Leroy Sane and insists last season’s PFA Young Player of the Year still has a major role to play in his side.
The 22-year-old was left stunned by Joachim Low’s decision to omit him from Germany’s squad in the summer and was given an extra week’s holiday by his club manager.
Sane, however, has started both of Manchester City’s matches this season on the bench. Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez were selected in the starting XI for the opening weekend win at , while Benjamin Mendy’s form as a rampaging left wing-back have also played a factor in Guardiola’s decision making.
‘In the past two weeks in training I’ve seen the Leroy that I know and we know. I am delighted about that. You know about his performances in pre-season, he arrived late and now he is getting back like Leroy is,” said the City manager.
‘We have six excellent strikers and not all of them can play. It is not about he is not playing because we are unhappy with his performance, it’s because we have to choose and now Mendy is playing more wide. That is the reason why.
‘He is ready with his physical condition. He doesn’t need much time to get in better condition, it is not about that.’
And Guardiola also insisted that Sane has not been dwelling on his shock World Cup omission.
‘He came back [to City] and I think he forgot about it,” he added, “I understand the disappointment of missing the World Cup – for young players it is an important issue.
‘He came back, he was in the [United] States and made pre-season and stayed there and took a little bit more time to settle and now he is ready.
‘When he doesn’t play [it’s not] because I am angry with him or do not trust his physical condition, quality, skills or what he can do for us or for himself.
‘In the last game, Raz [Raheem Sterling] didn’t play as he was in a tough, tough game against Arsenal when he was outstanding. But Mendy and Bernardo Silva were also excellent against Arsenal and I gave opportunities to the other guys.
‘It is not the case that when someone in this team is not playing that I’m not happy with them or they don’t deserve it. I have to choose and they have to be ready. We have played two games and the competition has just started.
‘Sometimes you need more time when you arrive. In pre-season always the players are, ‘Okay, we’ll do it because it is pre-season.’ But I have never complained about Leroy’s behaviour in the training sessions or matches. What he did last season was so important.’