Ilkay Gundogan is ready to step up and help fill the void left by Manchester City talisman Kevin De Bruyne after the Belgian suffered a knee injury on Wednesday that has left him on crutches.
City confirmed after training on Wednesday that De Bruyne had sustained an injury during the session and that he would be sent for further tests.
They refused to specify what they believe the injury to be or how long they predict he will be missing for, but early reports have claimed the problem involves a ligament and he could be out for up to three months.
Should such speculation prove accurate, City’s Premier League title defence would suffer an early blow, but Gundogan – who only started half of his 30 top-flight appearances last season – thinks he can shoulder some of the burden of replacing him.
“Yeah, I do feel fresh – maybe because the World Cup was also very short for us [Germany], unfortunately,” Gundogan told Omnisport.
“But I do feel ready. I was able to play nearly a full season last season after having big injuries. It was tough.
“At the end, I look at my stats and I made about 50 games last season. It was a really good run for myself.
“So I hope this one will be similar, especially in terms of the way we play and in terms of winning.”
Nevertheless, Gundogan is hopeful De Bruyne is able to feature again soon given his importance to their title charge last term.
“Actually I didn’t even see what exactly happened because it was at my back,” he added. “Obviously, we are all hoping that it is not too serious because Kevin, especially last season, had a great impact on us.
“He’s very important – a key player for us, so we hope he is able to return as quick as possible.”
Fellow midfielder Fernandinho believes De Bruyne is not coping too badly with the situation, and he echoed Gundogan’s sentiments about the 27-year-old’s importance.
“He’s okay. We don’t know yet what has happened and as soon as the doctor knows we will have the news,” Fernandinho said.
“Of course, he has been so important for us last season and I hope he can get well soon to play football again as soon as possible.”
Gundogan and Fernandinho were speaking at the world premiere of All or Nothing: Manchester City, available on Amazon Prime Video from Thursday.