The Bayern Munich winger missed the tournament in Russia three years ago, but it set to play a key role for his country at Euro 2020
Lothar Matthaus hopes Leroy Sane has learned his lesson from missing out on the World Cup three years ago, after pointing out defensive deficiencies in his game during Germany’s recent friendly with Denmark.
Bayern Munich winger Sane was a notable omission from the Germany squad for the 2018 tournament in Russia, although he earned a recall shortly after the tournament and is in their squad for the upcoming European Championship.
Former Germany captain Matthaus is a huge admirer of the former Manchester City player’s talents, but questions whether he has the positional discipline to be reliable at international level.
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What did Matthaus say about Sane?
Sane played 86 minutes of the 1-1 draw against Denmark last week, before finding the scoresheet as a second half substitute in the 7-1 thrashing of Latvia on Monday.
Reflecting on his performance in the Denmark match, Matthaus said there were aspects of Sane’s game that need improvement – but he also says the 25-year-old is a potential game-changer.
“As long as one player makes the difference, the team accepts his defensive weakness,” he told Goal and SPOX. “Leroy Sane is a player that I basically see as a great footballer with a lot of potential, but he had situations against Denmark in which he did not come back or switched off.
“You can forgive that against Denmark, but if a player has that character, he might do that in the final and then nobody will forgive him anymore.
“I love Sane on the pitch, but there is a discipline or two that he still has to learn. He should actually have learned his lesson after Jogi Low didn’t take him with him in 2018.”
Matthaus warns Germany’s rivals
While a nation like Germany can never be considered outsiders, many believe the three-time winners are a team in transition and will struggle to make an impact in the latter stages of the tournament.
Their cause has not been helped by being placed in a tough group alongside Euro 2016 winners Portugal and world champions France.
Matthaus concedes his country face a tough challenge but has a warning to those writing Germany’s chances off before a ball has been kicked.
“We mustn’t make ourselves smaller than we are,” he said. “I rate the Portuguese better than when they won the title five years ago, and many players have important roles in big clubs. France is peppered with world class players.
“These three teams are among the tight favourites, but we don’t have to hide behind France either. We have a lot of players who have won the Champions League in the last ten months and players who have won a lot of national titles.”
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