Man City news: Pep Guardiola demands Leroy Sane prove he wants his place back

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PEP GUARDIOLA has told Leroy Sane he must prove he has the hunger to win back his Manchester City place.

Last season’s PFA Young Player of the Year has yet to start a game this term and has had just 30 minutes of action from the bench.

The 22-year-old was one of City’s most influential players in last season’s record-breaking title win, but has been out of favour so far under Guardiola after also failing to make Germany’s World Cup squad.

International team-mate Toni Kroos claimed Sane – left out of City’s squad for their 2-1 win over Newcastle before the international break – must improve his attitude and body language.

Guardiola disputed that claim, but did warn him he must show he is ready to fight for a place in the face of increased competition from Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and new signing Riyad Mahrez.

“It’s a challenge for him – not just for him, for everybody”

Pep Guardiola – Man City boss

“It’s normal after what happened last season that people ask about him,” Guardiola said.

“His body language is the same as last season and he was the best young player in the Premier League.

“Leroy was so important, is so important, and will be so important for the club. There’s no doubt about that.

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

Man City news: Pep Guardiola and Leroy Sane

GETTY

Man City news: Pep Guardiola wants Leroy Sane to prove he wants to win his place back
(Pic: GETTY)

“He’s a nice guy, so I don’t have any bad words about him – we are here to try to help, not just him, but everybody.

“He’s a competitive guy. He was so professional last season and he had competition as well – because Sterling could play in that position on the left.

“But this season, Bernardo Silva was the first one. He started in an incredible condition and he deserves to play.

“Sterling, when he played the two or three games he played, for example against Arsenal away or the last game here, he was playing good.

“It’s a challenge for the players to keep their level and compete with their mates. It’s the only way to maintain the level we achieved last season.

“It’s not about ‘I don’t like you anymore’ or ‘I prefer this one or the other one’ .

“When I don’t like one player, at the end of the season I go to the club and say I don’t want to work with that guy if it’s possible and I want to change them.

“That’s not the case. Everybody is here because after three seasons I want to work with them and I think they want to work with us.

“We cannot forget Leroy is 22. He will grow up. The most important thing and the most important issue we have is to help them to grow.”

Guardiola has also urged Sterling to commit to a new long-term deal with City.

The England star and his agent put contract talks on hold towards the end of last season after months of negotiation.

Guardiola and City want Sterling – who has entered the final two seasons of his current deal – to sign a contract extension.

He is currently on around £175,000-a-week and is understood to want close to £300,000 to sign a new deal.

“It’s well-known we’re delighted with him and would like him to continue,” said Guardiola.

“My club knows my opinion and we share that. After that it is the club and the agent.

“Sometimes this kind of thing needs time. It’s important that Raheem and his people know how delighted we are with him.”

Guardiola also said City would not sell star man Kevin De Bruyne for a world record fee of £225m.

The City boss was quoted in Spain as saying De Bruyne – who signed a new deal last season – had a release clause of €250m.

Guardiola denied saying De Bruyne has a release clause but said the club would not sell him – even for a fee that eclipsed Neymar’s world record £198m switch from Barcelona to Paris St Germain.

“The journalist asked if we’d sell for £250m and I said ‘no’,” said Guardiola.

“I don’t think he has a release clause in his contract.”

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