Ilkay Gundogan has admitted his 10-month injury absence at Manchester City has left him mentally scarred.
The Germany international, however, has declared himself ready to make his first start for nine months with Pep Guardiola ready to play him from the off in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup tie at West Brom on Wednesday.
Gundogan came on as sub during Saturday’s 6-0 romp at Watford; his return to action coming nine months after he suffered the serious knee injury, ironically, also against the Hornets.
But after fighting back from his cruciate ligament injury, Gundogan admits that he is still not back to the same level, with the injury weighing heavy on his mind.
“If I said I am the same player as I was a year ago, I would be lying,” Gundogan told the Manchester Evening News.
“I mean, through the injury, you don’t feel the same. You don’t feel as though you are the most powerful guy in the world, not that I ever did.
“Of course, I had two injuries on my knee and I know what to do to prepare myself for the games and to warm my knee up and be generally fit. I will do everything to be as fit as possible.
“That could be it for all the injuries! I think I am done, now! I am ready to continue playing, to keep fit. To enjoy playing.
“As a footballer, you want to play as much as possible, to be honest.
“Wednesday would be a good opportunity to do it but the manager will decide.
“If he thinks I am ready, I am ready. I am there. I am waiting for him to say.”