Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has revealed that he is close to rejoining full contact training for the first time since he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in December last year.
After arriving into the Etihad last summer, the 26-year-old managed only nine games for City before tearing the ligament in his right knee, and has undergone a long spell on the sidelines.
However, Gundogan still seems upbeat despite his setback - having previously missed out on the 2014 World Cup and 2016 European Championship through injury as well.
"I'm close to a return and progressing very well." Gundogan told Sky Sports from the Citizens' pre-season tour of America.
"I was able to do parts with the team already over here in the US. I'm not fit yet and not at full contact with the guys, and of course there is a lack of self confidence.
"Especially when it is a long-term injury it is difficult to always be positive and always motivated.
"It's quite challenging handling that but I think I am able to deal with it and now I am at the end stage, not too far away from returning."
Despite the £21m signing's hopes to be back soon, no date has yet been given regarding a return to full fitness.
Meanwhile, City have been busy signing new players for Gundogan to play alongside during the coming season. The likes of Bernardo Silva, Ederson Moraes, Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy have all arrived into the blue side of Manchester this summer.