NEW YORK -- Leroy Sane has told ESPN FC that Mesut Ozil "needs some space" following his decision to stop playing for Germany, with the Manchester City winger admitting his own World Cup snub left him needing time to "calm down."
Sane is in the United States, preparing for City's International Champions Cup clash against Liverpool in New Jersey on Wednesday, after missing out on Germany's disastrous World Cup campaign following Joachim Low's surprise decision to overlook the 22-year-old when naming his squad.
Since Germany were knocked out in the group stage, Arsenal midfielder Ozil has shouldered heavy criticism for his performances in Russia, with a pre-tournament photograph with Turkish president Recep Erdogan prompting much of the negativity and condemnation of the former Real Madrid player.
Ozil on Sunday cited the outcry over his picture with Erdogan as a factor in his decision to quit the German team, and Sane, though he has yet to speak to his former international teammate, said Ozil will need time to come to terms with his decision.
"I know how it is, when I wasn't in the squad and when I wasn't involved," Sane told ESPN FC. "I think everyone needs some space.
"I wasn't also sitting on my phone and responding to everyone who texted me because I needed my time to calm down and think about everything and that's the same that I let happen to them. Give them some space and time with their family.
"I think it's his decision and everything else we leave for him [to say]."
Despite missing out on the World Cup, Sane insisted he accepts Low's decision on the squad.
"What happened? No, it was the coach's decision," Sane said. "I respect him a lot because he's a really good coach. He's been there a long time and knows what he's doing and that's why I accepted it moving forward.
"Of course I'm disappointed because it's my dream to play there, to play with these teammates, and against those players who are playing in the other nations. But I just keep looking forward and it motivates me to work harder.
"[Low and I] talked, I know the issues, what he was looking for. [He opted for] Julian Brandt, he wanted him. I'm really happy for him too because he's really good player, really good guy.
"I know him too, played with him before in the national team academy."
Germany's dismal World Cup perhaps made it a good tournament for Sane to miss but, having spent his summer in California, he admitted he would rather have been in Russia.
"I was really disappointed because I'm really friends with [the players] and we do things in private together too," he said. "I'm disappointed for them because I know it really hurts to get kicked out really early.
"I think every game is really special so it hurts to lose it and not go as far as you expect."
Asked if he watched the games, he answered: "I was in L.A. Of course I watched and followed the games because it's the World Cup obviously.
"Because of the time difference it was sometimes difficult, but if I could get up early in the morning then I would see the second half of games. But I still tried to follow every game when I could."