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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

'It was a very close decision': Leroy Sane left out of Germany World Cup squad

Manchester City winger loses out to Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt as Joachim Low trims four from his squad head to Russia

Leroy Sane has played in Germany's most recent friendlies - including a 2-1 loss to Austria - but has been omitted from Joachim Low's final 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup. Martin Meissner / AP Photo
Leroy Sane has played in Germany's most recent friendlies - including a 2-1 loss to Austria - but has been omitted from Joachim Low's final 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup. Martin Meissner / AP Photo

Leroy Sane, Manchester City’s title-winning winger, has been surprisingly omitted from Germany’s final squad for the Fifa World Cup.

The midfielder, who was last month named the Premier League’s Young player of the Year following a superb 2017/18 season, was one of four players cut on Monday from Joachim Low’s 27-man provisional squad.

Sane had been expected to play some part for the world champions at least, having starred for City last season in the English top flight. He scored 14 goals and registered 19 assists across all competitions as Pep Guardiola’s record-setting side won the league with five matches to spare.

Low said he preferred Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt to Sane, with the winger having also enjoyed a fine season with his club in which he scored 12 goals and notched nine assists.

"That was a very close decision between him and Julian Brandt, which was made in favour of Brandt," Low said. "[Julian] Draxler, [Marco] Reus and [Thomas] Muller are set. Leroy has a huge talent.

“He will be back again from September. He had not arrived in international matches yet. It was a very close decision. If it was a 100-metre race, it would have been a photo finish."

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Along with Sane, 22, Low confirmed that goalkeeper Bernd Leno, defender Jonathan Tah and forward Nils Peterson had also not made the cut.

However, Bayen Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has been included, as was anticipated, following his return to the national team in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by Austria. The Germany captain looks likely to remain as first choice ahead of Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Paris Saint-Germain’s Kevin Trapp.

“There are certainly easier days in the life of a national team head coach than the day where I have to send four payers home," Low said. “These are four players who had merited their place in the provisional squad through their performances.

"I spoke to the four players and the disappointment was huge, as you would expect. It’s as if you are stood at the check-in desk for your flight to Moscow, but are then prevented from boarding.”

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Sane’s absence comes as a major shock given that both Reus and Mario Gomez have been included in the final 23 for Russia. Reus has battled a series of injuries in recent years, causing the Borussia Dortmund forward to miss both the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016. Gomez, meanwhile, had a largely disappointing domestic season with Stuttgart.

Sane had recently been a regular for Germany, featuring in six of their past seven matches. He began Saturday’s friendly against Austria. He could still make the World Cup, though, should another attack-minded member of the squad get injured before Germany’s opening Group F match against Mexico on June 17. Fifa rules permit Low to make a change up until 24 hours before the game.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Paris St Germain).

Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha Berlin), Antonio Ruediger (Chelsea), Niklas Suele (Bayern Munich).

Midfielders: Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (Paris St Germain), Leon Goretzka (Schalke), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal).

Forwards:

Mario Gomez (VfB Stuttgart), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig).