Leroy Sane feels motivated by missing out on Germany’s World Cup squad and the criticism levelled at him by compatriot Toni Kroos.
Sane, 22, enjoyed a fine campaign last season with Manchester City, impressing so much that he won the Professional Footballers’ Association Young Player of the Year award.
Despite his age, he established himself as a key player in Pep Guardiola’s title-winning side and, to a neutral, looked an obvious selection for Germany’s squad.
But a history of poor performances on the international stage caught up with him, resulting in Joachim Low overlooking Sane for Russia 2018.
Kroos then questioned Sane’s attitude and suggested the City winger does not care if Germany win or lose after he returned to the fold in September, but the former Schalke star insists he is just using such comments to spur himself on.
“If I play bad, then it’s not like I don’t care,” Sane told reporters. “I always want us to win our games.
“It’s OK for me that it might look different for other people. I also respect it when criticism is addressed personally. I’ll then try to work on it.
“I don’t have any problem with criticism. It’s an incentive to refine myself.
“Sure, I was disappointed when I heard that I wasn’t in the World Cup squad, but it motivated me even more and as I already said – I want to show everyone what I’ve got.
“I always try to enjoy the time on the field and to learn something when I play. I learned a lot in the last months.
“I always want to improve my game when I play, and I think that is what I did in the last months.”
Sane is part of Germany’s squad for Nations League trips to Netherlands and France, which take place on Saturday and Tuesday respectively.