Pep Guardiola has declared Leroy Sane as the world’s best winger ahead of Manchester City’s Carabao Cup final with Chelsea on Sunday.
The Germany international came off the bench on Wednesday to equalise for City against former club Schalke 04 in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League clash by scoring a superb free-kick from 30 yards out.
Sane’s goal helped inspire 10-man City to a 3-2 comeback victory on the night and he will now be eyeing a starting spot at Wembley this weekend as the Citizens chase a second successive Carabao Cup.
But opportunities at the Etihad Stadium have been a little harder to come by this season for Sane due to Bernardo Silva’s adeptness down the right wing and Raheem Sterling’s fine form.
However, Guardiola holds Sane in very high regard and will not contemplate moving him down the middle.
“Playing in the middle he can do it,” said Guardiola on the club website.
“But I think he’s better out wide.
“I’m not saying he can’t (play in middle) but at the moment we have better players to do that job.
“But Leroy is best playing in the world out wide. I’d prefer to use him where he is strongest, he’s an incredible player.”
The former Barcelona coach is well aware of the importance that this weekend’s cup final can have on his City team and is wary of a possible revenge-seeking Chelsea, who they thrashed 6-0 in the league on February 10.
“It was really important [to win the Carabao Cup],” revealed Guardiola.
“In the Premier League, we were flying in that period but in the days before, we went out of the FA Cup at Wigan.
“It is not the most important title but we are here, playing at Wembley – a magical stadium, against a top side in Chelsea.
“In the moment, I was so happy but today, I wish we hadn’t beaten them 6-0!
“I don’t like to play one team in a short period of time, after you’ve beaten them. They are professional players and they will go extra.”
The Carabao Cup final between Chelsea and City will take place at Wembley on Sunday with kick-off set for 5:30 PM (CET).