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Guardiola backs Sane to shine

TIPPED TO SHINE: Pep Guardiola has backed Leroy Sane to rekindle his best form...

TIPPED TO SHINE: Pep Guardiola has backed Leroy Sane to rekindle his best form...

Pep Guardiola has backed Leroy Sane to rekindle his best form.

The German has not featured in City’s starting XI since the Community Shield triumph over Chelsea and was absent from the squad in the Blues’ last encounter against Newcastle.

With the winger having been left out of Germany’s World Cup squad, it has been a trying few months for Sane but – buoyed by the arrival of his newborn daughter – Guardiola hopes his midfielder can rediscover the form that earned him the PFA Young Player of the Year award in the 2017/18 campaign.

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“He will be so important for the Club,” Guardiola stated in part two of his pre-Fulham press conference.

“It’s a challenge for him and not just him – everybody.

“The season will be judged in 11 months – not three weeks. He’s a nice guy and I don’t have any bad words about him.

“He has to respond in the right way. He’s so competitive and professional.

“Sometimes, for some players, it’s that way (a slow start to the season). Some players at the end of the season go down.

“We cannot forget: he is 22 years old. Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Raz (Raheem Sterling) – the other ones are young - and he will grow up.

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“The most important thing is to try to help him.

“Bernardo Silva started in incredible condition and he deserved to play; Raz is playing well.

“It’s a challenge for all of them and a challenge for me and them is to keep that level.

“Everybody is here because after three seasons, I want to work with them. It’s simple like that.”

Guardiola also dismissed the suggestion Sane’s gametime has been limited due to Benjamin Mendy’s re-emergence into the starting line-up.

“I said they can play together,” he added. “No doubt about that.”

On the subject of youthful talent, the Catalan boss also discussed Phil Foden’s future at the Club and on the international stage.

“I don’t feel the pressure,” continued Guardiola. “We do our best and I think Phil is ready (for England).

“If he wasn’t ready for City, he wouldn’t be here – it’s the same case with Leroy.

“He’s a top player. If you look at the big Clubs in Europe, not too many players of his age play.

“His work ethic is incredible and he will have a lot of minutes this season.”

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