Ilkay Gundogan has hailed Leroy Sane’s “incredible” first season at Manchester City, but expects the winger to improve next term.
Although the 21-year-old, who, like Gundogan, arrived ahead of the 2016-17 campaign, had to wait until December for his first City goal, he then hit a fine run of form and ended the campaign with nine strikes in all competitions.
Sane’s early season struggles were to be expected, though, according to his City and Germany team-mate Gundogan, who is hoping for another big year from the former Schalke man.
“I expected [the difficult start] to be honest,” Gundogan told City’s official website. “[Sane] is still so young. I knew before that the first few months are the hardest and you just need to keep going.
“It doesn’t matter if you are directly in the team or if you need some time to adapt. When you are young, you just have to keep going, never lose your motivation in yourself and that is exactly what he did.
“He had a few difficult months, but that’s very normal for a young guy like him. Especially to join a new country, a new language at 20 years old.
— Leroy Sané (@LeroySane19) May 21, 2017
Gundogan added: “When I was 20, I was in Germany. I was around my family, I had everything. I was in my comfort zone.
“He just went out of it, took the decision for himself for a whole new adventure.
“When you are so young, it’s really difficult and the way he played in the second period of the season is just incredible. I am still quite sure there is more potential in him and he can be better next season.
“I think that is his aim and that should just motivate us to help him keep going. Hopefully, he can create a lot more goals for us – whether he assists or scores on his own.
“We are quite happy to have him, especially me because he is my neighbour now. It’s nice to have him and nice to spend time with him away from the field.”
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