Leroy Sane is proving his worth to Manchester City all over again after Pep Guardiola decided the Germany international did not deserve to play on the back of a poor pre-season.
Sane followed a brace in the midweek EFL Cup win at West Brom with the opening goal against Crystal Palace on Saturday, adding a pair of assists as City ran riot after half-time to record a 5-0 win.
It was only the 21-year-old's second Premier League start of the campaign but he took his goals tally to five in all competitions.
Sane was one of City's leading performers during the second half of last season but surprisingly found himself below Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva in the pecking order when it came to Guardiola selecting the support attackers for strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.
The former Barcelona boss told a post-match news conference that the answers lay on the training pitch.
"He didn't arrive good, he didn't make a good pre-season, he didn't deserve to play," said Guardiola.
"Now I have five strikers who all deserve to play. Gabriel Jesus is amazing, Bernardo Silva always creates, there's also Raz [Sterling], Leroy and Sergio…
"Some of them are going to rest. I need them sharp, especially in the second half of the season.
"But, of course, Leroy is so important for us. He's a guy who runs in behind in the right tempo, at the right moment as well as anyone else in the world.
"He is improving at the simple things, the simple balls, not losing the ball. Before he had to improve in that.
"Any goal is important and he is scoring a lot of goals, creating chances, giving assists. He is a young player, 21 years old, and he is so important for us."
City are top of the Premier League on goal difference after their latest resounding win – they are the first English team to win three consecutive top-flight games by five or more goals since Blackburn Rovers in 1958-59 – but Ruben Loftus-Cheek should have given Palace the lead before Sane illuminated a disjointed first-half showing with a brilliant solo effort.
Having rung the changes for Wednesday's trip to The Hawthorns, Guardiola felt his rested stars struggled to find their rhythm.
"We started good in the first five or 10 minutes, we created two chances and then after that we forgot that the ball should be moved," he said.
"When everything is slow, our rhythm is low, we concede counter-attacks and everything can happen.
"In the last 10 or 12 minutes of the first half before the goal, I felt we had it – moving the ball quicker – and we cannot deny that it helps a lot for Leroy to score in the last minutes.
"In the second half, we were what we have been in the last weeks. We had tempo, we were patient in the right moments and attacked quick when we could attack quick."
The only blot on City's day was left-back Benjamin Mendy limping off in the 29th minute with a knee injury that will be fully assessed on Sunday.
"Tomorrow we are going to make a real test," Guardiola added. "He feels better. It was a kick. Hopefully that's all.
"I don't know if the ligament is damaged. We are going to see."
|Cricket Australia to appoint head coach before England series|
|Rafinha confident over fresh Bayern deal|
|Arrieta settling in as Phillies ace after Philadelphia win|
|Perth Glory sack Kenny Lowe|
|Warriors, Pelicans claim 3-0 leads as Embiid inspires 76ers|
|Whiteside blames new role under Spoelstra for struggles with Heat|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Lopez misses two penalties as Racing crush Vasco|
|Gunes hospitalised after suffering head injury in abandoned Fenerbahce-Besiktas clash|
|Murray tames wind to lead Texas Open as Garcia struggles|
|NFL schedule: Top 10 games to watch in 2018|
|Thiago Silva eyeing PSG exit amid criticism|
|Trail Blazers´ Turner ruled out of game three|
|Premier League or Champions League title will take Spurs to ´different level´ – Pochettino|
|Klopp: Bayern Munich move would´ve been complicated|
|Mask-wearing Joel Embiid cleared to face Heat|
|Wenger names Vieira as potential Arsenal successor|
|Simeone demands more alert Atletico to solve away day problems|
|Lance Armstrong agrees $5million settlement to federal lawsuit|
|Sixers´ Embiid upgraded to probable for game three against Heat|
|Malaga relegated from LaLiga after late defeat|
|Conte reaches 100 Chelsea games with win at Burnley|
|When I fail, I get really angry - Morata apologises for tantrum|
|Neymar names players to watch at World Cup|
|Hughes remains upbeat despite Leicester draw|
|Hull inflict more drop-goal misery on Leeds|
|Two strikers an FA Cup option for Conte´s Chelsea|
|I´m not finished, Chelsea captain Cahill insists|
|I´m going to get there - Djokovic confident of rediscovering best form|
|Pedrosa cleared to race in Austin after wrist surgery|
|Leicester City 0 Southampton 0: Saints´ survival bid suffers fresh blow|
|Burnley 1 Chelsea 2: Conte´s men boost top-four chances with FA Cup warm-up|
|Fenerbahce-Besiktas abandoned after Gunes struck by object thrown from crowd|
|Quiros´ birdie-birdie finish earns a share of Rabat lead|
|New York Giants release Brandon Marshall|
|Real Sociedad 3 Atletico Madrid 0: Barca´s title party set to start|
|Thiem ready to up level for ´ultimate challenge´ of Nadal|
|Carrick reveals depression led to England exile|
|´Who are they?!´ - Accrington milk promotion with supermarket stunt|
|Mouthwatering Nadal-Djokovic quarter-final scuppered by Thiem|
|Stunning Gayle century ends Sunrisers´ unbeaten start|
|Conte names Hazard on bench for Burnley clash|
|Rooney denies rift with Everton boss Allardyce|
|Kane will leave Tottenham unless they win trophies, predicts Souness|
|Porzingis could miss 2018-19 season, Knicks owner says|
|Portugal´s Sanches has no chance of World Cup selection - Carvalhal|
|Spurs coach Popovich to miss game three after death of wife|
|Nadal reaches 14th straight Monte Carlo quarter-final|
|Better with one arm - Julio Cesar reveals Mourinho´s Casillas jibe|
|New Hamilton deal ´agreed in principle´ for Mercedes|
|Joseph likely to miss England´s tour of South Africa|
|Mourinho has nothing to prove - Pochettino|
|Bhatti pens one-year Glasgow extension|
|I have spoken to the chairman - Allardyce upset by Everton survey|
|Kit cat: Bath player offers signed shirt for missing pet|
|Emery dismisses talk of Real Sociedad offer|
|Thiem rallies to send Djokovic packing in Monte Carlo|
|Sidibe´s Monaco season over but World Cup return possible|
|Guardiola thanks ´unique´ City staff in celebration speech|
|Wan-Bissaka signs long-term Crystal Palace extension|
|Love will be ready for game three, assures Cavs coach Lue|
|Injured Raonic withdraws from Monte Carlo, Cilic advances|
|ECB announces 100-ball format for new domestic competition|
|Bottas aiming to overthrow Hamilton and claim world title|
|Rakitic to make comeback following finger surgery|
|FIFA dismisses Brewster racism complaint from U-17 World Cup final|
|Isak could benefit from Batshuayi injury - Stoger|
|Mitchell on target again in scrappy Roosters win|
|Shaw hopes to have earned FA Cup start|
|Mercado: If I smack Messi, I can´t go back to Argentina!|
|Salah wants Golden Boot to prove Chelsea doubters wrong|