Here’s 21 things you may or may not know about birthday boy Leroy Sane…
1 Leroy was born in Essen, Germany on 11 January 1996
2 His career began at SG Wattenscheid 09 – his local football team – at the age of five.
3 Though he joined Schalke in 2005, he spent three years playing junior football with Bayer Leverkusen before returning to Schalke in 2011.
4 He signed his first professional contract with Schalke in March 2014
5 He made his Bundesliga debut a month later against VfB Stuttgart
6 Sane made his debut for Germany Under-21s against Denmark in September 2015
7 Two months later Leroy was selected for his first senior Germany cap, playing for 61 minutes in a 2-0 defeat to France
8 Leroy shares his birthday with fellow footballers Emile Heskey, Jamie Vardy and singer Mary J Blige
9 Leroy’s parents both excelled in sports with his mother Regina Weber a 1984 Olympic bronze medallist in gymnastics. “Gymnastics is not my kind of sport,” he said. “But I have spoken to her about it and I know she was good. She was third in the Olympic Games. I think she was the first from Germany to win the Bronze medal. I am very proud of this.”
10 His father Souleymane Sane was a Bundesliga star and Senegal international. He says: “I played with my father a lot when I was younger. Me and my brother would always say to him ‘come on, you must play with us!’ and every time he would go in the goal and we would take shots.”
11 Leroy has dual citizenship and could have played for France or Germany.
12 Leroy’s two brothers are also at Schalke 04.
13 Sane says he only ever wanted to be a footballer, commenting: “I never wanted to be an astronaut. When I was 16 or 17, I didn’t go to parties. I had only one hobby – the ball.”
14 He says his favourite meal is penne carbonara…
15 Sane made his City debut in the 2-1 win against United at Old Trafford.
16 City could field an all-time German XI: Trautmann, Frontzeck, Tarnat, Boateng, Gundogan Karl, Gaudino, Hamann, Sane, Rosler, Lomas (born in Germany) Subs: Immel, Karius, D Phillips (Born in Germany).
17 Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, Middlesbrough’s Stewart Downing, Leicester’s Islam Slimani and City Academy coach Mark Kennedy have all worn the No.19 shirt at some point in their careers.
18 Leroy scored his first goal for City in the 2-1 win over Arsenal.
19 Sane’s party-piece is his ability to ‘nutmeg’ his opponents – knock it through their legs. “I have been doing it a long time. When I was young, every time I played if I could nutmeg, I would do it. It’s not because I want to annoy the other player. In my head it’s a way of going past a defender and that’s why I do it.”
20 Of his team-mates, he rates David Silva as the most skilful and Raheem Sterling as the quickest.
21 Leroy feels there is always room for improvement. He says: “I need to improve my right foot. I also need to feel more confident in the games, to concentrate throughout the whole game and not make too many mistakes. The players and the coach are helping me a lot to do this.”
Happy birthday, Leroy…