Michael Ballack says there is 'no explanation' for Germany leaving Manchester City star Leroy Sane out of World Cup squad
Leroy Sane was a surprise omission from Germany's 2018 World Cup squad
Michael Ballack has expressed his shock at Leroy Sane's World Cup snub.
The 22-year-old enjoyed an outstanding 2017/18 season for Manchester City, playing a key part in their Premier League title success and winning the prestigious PFA Young Player of the Year award.
But his fine club form was not enough to earn him a place in the 23-man Germany squad for the World Cup finals, with boss Joachim Low opting for Bayer Leverkusen's Julian Brandt instead.
The decision to leave out Sane has staggered many, including German legend Ballack.
Speaking ahead of Betfair's Road to Russia Preview, the former Chelsea midfielder and World Cup finalist told SunSport: “Like many people, I was really surprised because from a football point of view there was no explanation not to select him for a squad of 23 players.
“We have really good players but there is a space for him in that squad – even if he didn’t perform in the same way as he did for Man City.
"For me struggling is normal when you’re young and join a really good team, the world champions.
"Jogi Low sticks to players he has experience with, who he can trust, who have already delivered but I think in this squad there are already a lot of new players which were not there four years ago.
"When you talk about quality and football, he has to be part of the team. But he made a different decision and we have to respect it.
"There is speculation it could be something behind the scenes which he was not really happy about. Also it could be a longer term decision as he was injured for the Confederations Cup.
"Low said he had nothing to complain about Sane's attitude and simply went for Julian Brandt instead but I don’t feel you have to do that because Sane is not a player for one position."
Ballack feels Germany have the quality in their ranks to defend the World Cup, despite the omission of Sane.
The Betfair ambassador – a runner-up in the 2002 tournament – added: "The squad is still strong enough.
"But in my opinion he is so good he can make a difference – especially in the quarter finals, semi-finals, final when it comes to equal opponents like Spain Brazil and France.
"Then, he is a key player who can make the difference – I still think Germany are strong enough to win without Sane, but that’s not saying they would lose with him.
"I was looking forward to seeing him in a World Cup because when we talk about stars he’s one of these players who actually is mentioned in the top 10 for young players and it’s not nice for the fans to not see him."