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In focus: Leroy Sane

SUPER SANE: Leroy has been in superb form this season

SUPER SANE: Leroy has been in superb form this season

It’s been a superb season for Leroy Sane.

He’s been consistently brilliant during a period that has seen City win 16 and draw one of their opening 17 games; a player with match-winning quality who is now widely regarded as the best young forward in the Premier League.

He is often a potent weapon on the counter, using his explosive pace to stretch the opposition. With the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva in central areas capable of playing eye-of-a-needle passes, teams can be carved open in seconds, and Sane is perhaps City’s best outlet when playing on the break.

But he is also becoming increasingly comfortable in a possession-based side. City tend to dominate and control matches, and Sane, 21, is very much adept at keeping the ball in tight spaces and picking the right pass. He has completed 85 per cent of his passes this season, up from 81 per cent last term. 

He’s scored eight goals in 17 games across all competitions this season, which for a wide player is prolific, and has weighed in with another seven assists. For a player so young, those a outstanding figures that underlines his ruthlessness in the final third. 

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It is perhaps his Premier League stats that best highlight his growing productivity. He’s managed six goals in 11 games this season, an average of 0.55 per game. That’s up drastically on the 0.19 goals per game he managed during his debut campaign, and a sure sign he’s becoming more confident in his ability to influence matches.

And it’s a similar story with his assists. He’s managed five in the league, an average of 0.45 per game, whereas last season he managed just 0.11 per game.

Those are significant upswings. He still has plenty of improving to do but Pep Guardiola’s influence is clearly having a huge effect.

The range of goals he's scored is also noteworthy, from long-range curlers like City's fifth in the win over Liverpool, to deft finishes like the opener against Crystal Palace that saw him flick the ball over Scott Dann's head before passing it past Wayne Hennessey in goal. He's got power, precision and accuracy in his locker. 

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The defensive side of his game has also improved. His tackle success rate is up from 63 per cent last season to 83 per cent currently. Guardiola is a demanding coach with exacting standards and he expects every player to put a shift in, and Sane is responding. 

It all bodes well for City. Sane is young and hungry, a player being moulded into a star by Guardiola. “Sane is a huge talent and I can only congratulate Germany to have a talent like him,” Guardiola said when manager of Bayern Munich. The Catalan saw the potential early on when perhaps few others had and City have been the beneficiaries.

There's little standing in the way of Sane and summit of the game. 

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