Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insists Leroy Sane remains an important member of his squad, despite his recent struggles to make the line-up.
The 23-year-old winger was an integral member of the City team that stormed to a record-breaking Premier League title last season, while collecting the PFA Young Player of the Year award in the process.
More recently, though, Sane’s struggled to hold down a spot in the City line-up, with only four starts in the club’s last eight Premier League games.
This has raised concerns over Guardiola’s plans for Sane, who will certainly not be short of interest if he decided to leave the Etihad Stadium in the summer.
But the Catalan coach has assured everybody that his “admiration and trust” for Sane remains intact.
“I’ve said many times in good and bad moments how important Leroy is for us,” said Guardiola on the club website.
“He didn’t play lately but he knows the reason why. I have spoken quite often with him and my people on and off the pitch.
“We all want the best. There is competition with the other players. In a specific game, I need him and in some specific games, I prefer another type of player.
“My admiration and trust for him are intact but always, I want more.
“I take decisions for (who plays) on the pitch from what I believe in that moment and what I feel, having talked to my people. I make a decision. I know how it works but people judge on results.”
Sane, who has only started 19 of City’s 32 Premier League matches this season, will be hoping to get back in the line-up for this afternoon’s trip to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
With leaders Liverpool playing Chelsea at Anfield this evening, Guardiola’s side be looking to take all three points at Palace to capitalise on any slip-ups their title rivals may suffer.