Ilkay Gundogan is hopeful he can be fully up to speed following the September international break after making his return from an eight-month layoff during Manchester City's friendly at Girona on Tuesday.
Gundogan scored five goals in 16 appearances for Pep Guardiola's side last term before a cruciate knee ligament injury suffered during December's 2-0 win over Watford curtailed his debut season in England.
The 26-year-old Germany midfielder came on for the final 19 minutes at Montilivi as City lost 1-0 to the LaLiga newcomers but he is in no immediate rush to play a part in competitive action.
"I'm in a good way. I still know that it's a long way to go but I was out for eight months," Gundogan told City TV
"There is no reason to rush now. When I feel good, when I feel ready, when I feel safe I'm ready to play and I'm ready to try.
"That's the target for the next weeks. There's an international break in the next two weeks so there's plenty of time to use that for training, maybe another one or two games if it's possible.
"Then, hopefully, after that break I will be ready to join the team fully. When the manager and my team-mates need me, I want to be there."
Today I simply feel fantastic to be finally back in a football match after so many months! August 15, 2017
Gundogan has endured wretched luck with injuries over recent seasons, having missed Euro 2016 due to a dislocated kneecap after a back injury meant 2013-14 and Germany's triumphant World Cup campaign in Brazil was a write-off.
As such, he is well versed in the psychological side of timing a comeback correctly as he moves back towards peak physical shape.
"I wouldn't say it's down to medical advice, it's more like a personal feeling to be honest," he said when discussing a potential return date, with City's home game against Everton next Monday all but ruled out.
"I know now that my knee is safe and everything is good. Now it's more a mental thing, to join the lads in the games for a few minutes and then to come out and do some treatment afterwards, cooling, all that stuff.
"That's my target. I will enjoy every single minute that I get. Whether it's in a friendly or the Premier League I want to be ready.
"It's difficult to say this game or that time. It's just a feeling in the training sessions over the next weeks and then, hopefully, I'm going to be ready soon."
Happy to see my bro back on the pitch!e August 15, 2017
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1