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It’s true that groups of players begin careers and end careers on a constant basis, but, to make a sweeping generalization, football as a whole seems to be in a state of transition right now. Many of the greatest players are getting older, and teams are slowly integrating the younger generation of athletes into greater roles of responsibility.

Perhaps, that’s why many expected several national teams to include younger players in their 2018 World Cup squads. It’s come as a shock to the world that German starlet Leroy Sane didn’t make the final cut.

His personal career couldn’t be going any better at the moment. Sane was a contributing member of the Manchester City squad that was recently crowned Premier League champions. So why wasn’t he included in the World Cup squad?

Let’s remember that we are discussing the German national team here. This is the reigning World Cup Champion with plenty of talented players who are making names for themselves all over Europe. The team’s manager, Joachim “Jogi” Low, said that his final decision came down to a choice between Leroy Sane and Julian Brandt. Low remarked that he stills considers Sane to be an amazing player, but he just wasn’t the right man for the job this time.

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A side by side comparison of the two player’s performance for World Cup Qualifiers, shows Brandt as being just a notch above Sane. Although both players made an assist during that period, Brandt was the only one to score a goal. Brandt also competed in two more matches than Sane, perhaps signaling that Low has seen him as a better fit for the team for some time now.

Renato Sanches is another up and coming star that has been left out of the World Cup. The situation may have been different last year, but, Sanches’ absences is not as shocking as Sane’s. Despite not making it into the squad this year, Renato Sanches, at the tender age of 20, has already seen more minutes with the Portuguese National Team than some players get in their entire career. So what went wrong?

Perhaps, Sanches’ career moved too far too fast. He has been incredibly talented from a very young age. He’s already signed with Bayern Munich, which was a great move at first. Throughout managerial shifts, he struggled to remain an integral part of the team. He has been loaned to Swansea and Benfica, and neither sting has been particularly promising. In fact, he’s been recalled from Benfica early than he was supposed to. Some news agencies report that Sanches is trying to make a permanent move to Benfica. Others report that Bayern Munich will give him a final chance to prove himself before shipping him off for good. Although the past season hasn’t been a great one, Renato Sanches is still just 20 years old. As long as he doesn’t lose his credibility with managers, he still has time to get his career back to being upwardly mobile.

Sometimes great players just don’t fit into a particular system. Every player is not suited to every playing style, and it takes an advanced, versatile athlete to fit seamlessly into any system. Perhaps, with more domestic experience, both of these players will eventually become mainstays with their respective national squads.

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