Sane credits Pep for surprise form

Abu Dhabi: Leroy Sane has credited Pep Guardiola with his surprise form for Manchester City this season, but still thinks he’s a way off a Ballon d’Or nod, tipping teammate Kevin de Bruyne instead for that honour.

“He’s a really special, unbelievable player,” Sane said of De Bruyne. “The way he plays, shoots, passes, it’s really nice to see. Even in games and training I’m like: ‘How does he do that?’

“Yeah he has a really good chance to do it, even to achieve it, and I hope he will do it,” the 22-year-old German attacking-midfielder said of the Belgian midfielder’s Ballon d’Or chances.

Of his own hopes of a Ballon d’Or nomination, or even winning PFA Young Player of the Year, Sane added: “I haven’t thought about it at all and right now I’m not looking to win something for myself.

“In other interviews I was asked about the Ballon d’Or. I think it’s way too early, especially a trophy like this, but it would be nice for me, especially if I can reach it.”

With 12 goals in 40 appearances, across all competitions, for City so far this season — up from nine in 37 in his first season with the club since joining from Schalke for £37 million (Dh189.38 million) in August 2016 — he said: “For every player it’s exciting to see how good you can be.

“I don’t think anyone thinks next season they’ll play better and everything will be OK, because you can’t see into the future. It’s in your hands to improve and work harder and try to play a good season and that’s why for me I was a little surprised I improved in one year so much that I could play a better season than before.”

The main reason for his improvement, he said, was Guardiola’s perfectionism.

“For me he is the perfect coach, he sees where your weaknesses are and where you can improve, and he tries to teach and make it better. I think every young player playing for him can say: ‘Yeah, he made me better’.

“Even if I’ve improved on this thing he always says if there’s a weakness and if you do a mistake he says: ‘Hey look’, he reminds you how to do it and this is really important, and good, for young players.”

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