Supporters and players across football were left shocked this week when Manchester City star Leroy Sane was left out of Germany’s 23-man World Cup squad for the summer tournament in Russia.
Forward Sane, 22, played a major role as City were crowned Premier League winners and reached the Champions League quarter-finals last season.
Another of those left surprised by manager Joachim Low’s decision was Brighton & Hove Albion’s German player of the season Pascal Gross.
Gross, 26, who signed a one-year contract extension at the club’s Lancing training complex yesterday, said: “It’s a very hard decision (on Sane) and very hard for him.
“Nobody was expecting it, he played unbelievable in England this season. I read he has played 12 games for the national team with no goals or one assist or something. He is still young and if you don’t have so many games it’s not easy to come in the team.
“His quality is unbelievable and every team can be lucky to have a player like him.”
German Gross, who is still to collect an international cap, is unsure how his native, current reigning world champions, will fare in Russia this summer.
He added: “I think we have a good team but it will be tough. When you have won it before it’s hard to do it again, especially with so many good teams, I hope but I’m not sure.”
Brighton’s German export Gross still harbours hope of an international call in the future.
But with the exclusion of Sane from his countries World Cup squad, he is well aware of the competition he faces.
Gross said: “It’s a dream but it’s hard in Germany. We have a very good squad with some very good young players but for every player it is a dream. I’m realistic and at the moment, it’s not so easy.”