Pep Guardiola has tempered the excitement around Leroy Sane’s recent Manchester City form, insisting the German “still disappears” for periods of matches.
Sane arrived from Schalke at the beginning of the season for a figure understood to be £42million, but initially he struggled to hold down a regular spot in Guardiola’s starting XI.
The 21-year-old has gradually become more consistent and, as a result, seen more time on the pitch and his run of one goal in each of his last three matches across all competitions has highlighted his improving decisiveness.
Guardiola believes Sane deserves all the plaudits he is getting, but was eager to point out that there is still much he can improve upon.
“The quality was there in the beginning,” Guardiola told reporters in his pre-match media conference ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League clash with Stoke City.
6 – Leroy Sane has scored 6 goals from just 8 shots on target in all competitions for Manchester City. Pinpoint.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 5, 2017
“People believed that immediately he would settle within a few seconds. Raz [Raheem Sterling] and John [Stones] helped him a lot.
“He’s playing good, but also we’re showing him a lot of clips – the not good things he is doing and what he can improve.
“You as journalists give a lot of credit to the managers. But without his qualities and skills, his willingness to be better, it would be impossible.
“Sane has good actions as a winger, but still has to be 90 minutes more in the games. He still disappears a little bit.
“That’s why it’s nice to work with younger players because you can imagine what they are going to be like in the next years.”
Guardiola also revealed his desire to sign more English players for City, but conceded that the fact they are “so expensive” has proven a stumbling block for him so far.
City have introduced six new signings to their squad since Guardiola took over from Manuel Pellegrini at the end of last season, with Stones the only Englishman.
Stones has also been the most expensive, with City spending a reported £47m on the defender and Guardiola believes the exorbitant prices of home-grown talents are exactly why City are putting so much importance on the development of their academy.
#PEP: I would like to have English players but they are so expensive. They feel something special but sometimes it’s not possible. #mcfc
— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 7, 2017
“I would like to have English players but they are so expensive,” he added. “They feel something special but sometimes it’s not possible.
“The market is the market and that’s why the club is working for a long period on the academy.”
Guardiola went on to confirm that he has a clean bill of health ahead of Stoke’s visit, with Vincent Kompany potentially in contention to play after getting several training sessions under his belt.
“There are no injuries,” Guardiola said. “Some are tired, the rest are okay. Vincent has started training regularly – today he trained.”