BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
RAITH ROVERS starlet Joel Coustrain is desperate to make a flying start to life at Stark’s Park – after recalling how he outstripped £37 million man Leroy Sane for pace.
The Irish youngster did a double-take this week when he saw the Germany international pen a five-year deal with Manchester City, taking Pep Guardiola’s summer spending spree to more than £100 million.
The switch brought back memories of his “proudest moment”, when he left the wonderkid trailing in his wake during a clash between Ireland and Germany at under-19 level last year.
While all the attention before the game was on Sane – already a Champions League star with Schalke at that point – it was Coustrain who found the net as the boys in green succumbed to a narrow 3-2 defeat.
The 20-year-old smiled: “I actually scored against Germany when Leroy Sane was playing on the other side. I think my proudest moment in football was doing him for pace down the line! I had just come on, so I was fresh, and he was chasing me down.
“I was running with the ball and you could hear him sprinting. I’m thinking ‘he’s going to get me here’, but I dipped the shoulder and sped up and he gave up . . . I was cheering as I ran down the line!
“I saw the other day he had joined Manchester City, it’s crazy. I’ve got a picture of him running behind me, so I sent that to my step-dad, Kevin, with a message saying ‘I can’t believe he’s just moved for £37 million’. He replied with ‘who? the guy in the green?’ Maybe one day!
“I remember the team meeting before the match – it was basically just on Sane. He had scored a few goals already and the manager said ‘this guy has come on against Real Madrid and scored past [Iker] Casillas’.
“On the morning of the game, they boys were joking and saying ‘we’ll take a 4-0 defeat here’. As it was, we did really well and should have won. I scored to make it 2-1 with 15 minutes to go but they came back to win 3-2.”
Suffice to say their paths have diverged since. While Sane is now one of the hottest properties in world football, Coustrain is preparing to make his Championship debut at Somerset Park following his summer move from Sheffield United.
However, the promising winger could not be more excited about the prospect after seeing his time with the Blades descend into something of a nightmare.
The Limerick lad continued:”I got told in January that I would not be getting a new contract but they wouldn’t let us leave. So we were left to train there for months and months.
“It was an awful situation. A new manager came in and that was it. He had the same excuse for everyone: ‘you’re not in the plans’. There were ten off us that got let go, which was a bit of a heartbreak.
“We weren’t allowed to train with the rest of the lads or play, so we were reporting to the training ground every day and had to train with five or six lads. So it’s just good to be back playing – I’ve been so happy the last few weeks.
“This was a massive opportunity because if you do well in this league then you can get great exposure. I can’t wait for real competitive football and a physical battle.”