London (AFP) - Manchester City winger Leroy Sane says the knee ligament injury that has wrecked his season is "the longest and hardest" fitness problem of his career.
Sane has been sidelined since sustaining the devastating knee injury against Liverpool in the Community Shield in August.
The 24-year-old German has yet to play a first-team game since then and he admits the road to recovery has been mentally and physically gruelling.
"It was the hardest and longest injury that I've ever had in my career," Sane told Manchester City's website on Wednesday.
"It is difficult, especially the first day after the surgery because you can't move at all and that's not something any of us athletes are used to.
"You have to push yourself every day because you know it's a long rehab, but it is a good opportunity to work more on other weaknesses and that's why I took it as a chance to recover well and come back strong."
Sane returned to training towards the end of January and has tested his comeback with some playing time in City's under-23s side.
He was hoping to return to Premier League action when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus.
Sane, who had been strongly linked with Bayern Munich before the injury, has thanked his team-mates for their support during his rehabilitation.
Ilkay Gundogan and Benjamin Mendy also experienced long absences due to knee problems in their City careers and their advice was especially helpful.
"The whole team supported me, of course, but I was especially talking to Gundogan and Mendy a little bit more about the injury, what they did, what could happen and their experience with everything," Sane said.
"It helped me a lot to know how certain stuff feels and what can happen. It helped me and I'm very pleased that they pushed me along with that."