Man City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan relishing return to German squad

Ilkay Gundogan will miss Euro 2016 through injury
Image: Ilkay Gundogan missed Germany's Euro 2016 campaign through injury

Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is looking forward to making his international comeback after missing almost a year due to a string of injuries, but he is not yet thinking about the 2018 World Cup.

World champions Germany take on the Czech Republic on October 8 and host Northern Ireland three days later in World Cup Qualifiers, with Gundogan hoping to win his first cap since November 2015.

Live International Football: FIFA World Cup 2018 Qualifiers

The talented 25-year-old, who signed for Manchester City in the close season and has shed almost four kilos as he returned to fitness, missed the 2014 World Cup as well as Euro 2016 through injury.

"It is great to be here again. I did not realise it was actually such a long time since my last game. But I know the feeling of a comeback well from the past few years," he said.

"I just want to enjoy the moment and if I am needed I will be there. I will give it all I can and I cannot ask for more at the moment."

Ilkay Gundogan, Manchester City (picture courtesy of Manchester City FC)
Image: Gundogan is looking to live in the moment and put his injury travails behind him

Gundogan is seen as the natural successor to former captain and playmaker Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has retired from international football. Injuries, however, have frequently set him back.

"It would be great if my career would be similar to that of Bastian. We all know what he has done for German football," Gundogan said.

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"It is an honour [to be named as his successor] but it is not an issue for me. I play my game which is not necessarily exactly like his game. Everything else is not that important."

He said the 2018 World Cup was not yet on his radar and he was simply hoping to stay fit and keep playing at the top level.

Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan visits CITC children
Image: Gundogan has paid tribute to his former team-mate Bastain Schweinsteiger

"I have not been successful with tournaments. This is not on purpose that I get injured shortly before," he said.

"It was extremely bitter to miss the past two major tournaments. Maybe that is why I want to be healthier and I am not thinking about Russia. I am just happy to be fit again and reach 100 per cent, to stay healthy and enjoy the moment."  

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