Ilkay Gundogan says he is only “90 or 95 per cent fit” but is ready to make his Manchester City bow in the derby with Manchester United on Saturday if Pep Guardiola needs him.
Midfielder Gundogan suffered a dislocated kneecap in a training session while at Borussia Dortmund in May, consequently missing out on a place in Germany’s Euro 2016 squad.
The 25-year-old believes he is approaching a return to full fitness and would be happy to play a part when the Manchester rivals face off at Old Trafford.
However, Gundogan confesses it may be too soon for him to return to action in what he anticipates will be a thrilling clash.
“In football, you never know. There could be one or two injuries that crop up and you may be needed so I always try to prepare myself as though I will be playing in the next game or that I need to be available – that’s my philosophy, even when I’m not 100 per cent,” Gundogan told City’s official website.
“I try to do my best in training and to get in shape and be prepared. Ideally, I think I’d need another week or two of full training to be at 100 per cent but sometimes in football 90 or 95 per cent is enough to do a job for half an hour or whatever is asked of you.
“This is a very special game and is one of the biggest games in the whole of Europe – everybody is looking to Manchester which is like the capital of football at the moment.
“The Premier League is growing year on year and with the kind of managers and players both clubs have, it is a huge game and the whole world will be watching.
“We will try to do our best and of course, to win this game would send out a message to rest of the league. If we play the way we have been doing in the last few weeks we will have a chance to do that.”