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Manchester City star Leroy Sane has been sensationally left out of Germany’s final 23-man squad for the World Cup.
The 22-year-old has enjoyed an emphatic season under Pep Guardiola and won the PFA Young Player of the Year award but Joachim Low has deemed him surplus to requirements as Germany prepare to defend their title in Russia.
Manuel Neuer has been handed the No.1 jersey, signalling he will start in goal after eighth months out with a foot injury.
Julian Brandt appears to be the man preferred to Sane while Julian Draxler and Marco Reus have also been selected as wide options.
‘That was a very close decision between him and Julian Brandt, which was made in favor of Brandt,’ Low said in his press conference.
‘Draxler, Reus and Muller are set. Leroy has a huge talent. He will be back again from September. He had not arrived in international matches yet. ‘If it was a 100m race, it would have been a photo finish.’
The decision to omit Sane, who scored 14 goals and contributed 15 assists this season, comes as a surprise given how Low waxed lyrical over the youngster in October 2017.
‘He already has something extraordinary in the game and that speed that is needed internationally,’ the boss said then.
‘And, moreover, he can make a difference in some games with his speed. If he continues to develop, he will be very happy to us in the future.’
Neuer, Matthias Ginter, Mats Hummels, Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller, Draxler, Toni Kroos and Jerome Boateng are the members from the 2014 squad to retain their places.
Bayer Leverkusen duo Bernd Leno and Jonathan Tah were both cut from the preliminary squad while Freiburg striker Nils Petersen was the fourth player to be excluded.
Germany will now face Saudi Arabia at the BayArena on Friday before beginning the defence of their title against Mexico with their Group F opener on June 17 in Moscow. -AFP