Ilkay Gundogan: 'I may never return to my best form'

Gundogan: 'I may never return to my best'
© SilverHub
Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan admits that spending a further eight months on the sidelines injured has taken its toll on him mentally.

Ilkay Gundogan has confessed that "there are doubts" in his mind whether he will ever return to his best form after making his return to competitive action with Manchester City.

The Germany international has been troubled by numerous injury problems in the past, restricting him to just 16 appearances since joining the Citizens from Borussia Dortmund last year.

Gundogan, most recently ruled out with cruciate ligament damage last December, was brought off the bench in the 6-0 win over Watford at the weekend and is now in line to play a part in the EFL Cup tie with West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday night.

Speaking on the eve of that match, however, the 26-year-old admitted that matching his Dortmund peak may now be tough to achieve at the Etihad Stadium.

"It was a long wait – and tough as well," he told reporters of his latest comeback. "That is why it feels so special to return. I was sad just to watch in front of the TV or in the stands. To be honest, you don't feel as part of the group anymore. You are not travelling with the team anymore. You do everything on your own or with the physio. So of course, that is the worst feeling you can have as a football player.

"So, that is also the reason it was that hard over the months. The worst time was of course the day of the injury or when I knew what exactly happened. When I knew there would be six, seven, eight, nine months out. That was the worst feeling. The day after the surgery was not so good either. But then, at one point, you start to do it again. You start to do your rehabilitation. You recover. You have ups and downs, days you feel better, days you feel very bad.

"I think that is normal. It is not just me. There are doubts if I will be again at the level I had before so, of course that is the case. As I said because of these ups and downs, more of the downs, it is sometimes frustrating. The doubts are at this point even bigger. But I had no other choice. I am a football player. This is what I do. This is what I have done all my life. This is my job. For me, there was no other choice than to try again. If I said I am the same player as I was a year ago, I would be lying.

"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. 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."

Gundogan cost City a reported fee of £20m to sign from Dortmund, becoming Pep Guardiola's first signing at the club.

Share this article now:
Ander Herrera celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Manchester United and Arsenal on February 28, 2016
Read Next:
Herrera labels Man City title favourites
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!
1Manchester CityMan City27233179205972
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd27175551193256
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs27157552242852
8Leicester CityLeicester2798103940-135
12West Ham UnitedWest Ham2779113446-1230
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2777132536-1128
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton27610112236-1428
15Crystal Palace2769122542-1727
16Swansea CitySwansea2776142037-1727
17Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2776142347-2427
19Stoke CityStoke2767142753-2625
20West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom27311132140-1920
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in with Facebook to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account