Manuel Akanji has declared himself ready for the challenge of becoming a regular for Manchester City following his move from Borussia Dortmund.
The Premier League champions moved for the centre back following an injury to Nathan Ake, with him arriving in a £15.1m deal on deadline day. Man City also have injury concerns at the moment about Kyle Walker and John Stones, while Aymeric Laporte is out until October at the earliest.
That led to an unexpectedly early debut for Akanji against Sevilla in the Champions League, and he says he hasn’t come to the club to simply make up the numbers.
"I feel like it’s big news [back in Switzerland],” Akanji told the Manchester Evening News. “I have not been there yet since the signing, but Man City is one of the biggest clubs in the world.
"I also want to show I did not come here to be just a random player. I want to be on this team and play as much as possible. Some people might still have doubts about it and I need to prove to them I can do it, and that’s why I’m here.
"Some people might think I came here just as another defender to play some time. I don’t really know what everyone thinks as I don’t read all the newspapers but there are always some doubts on everyone. Even Erling [Haaland] when he came, there were questions over if he could do here the same. Of course, he’s proving them wrong.
"I want to prove myself. I know I am capable of doing it, but I need to show it. That’s all that matters: what you do on the pitch and if you’re ready to cope with it."
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City boss Pep Guardiola has one of the most talented squads in world football from which to choose when everyone is available. While it was an injury crisis that handed Akanji his chance, he knows that sooner or later the established defenders will return.
However, when he arrived from Dortmund, he revealed he was given assurances that the team will be picked on merit, not reputation.
"They told me that we don't have a number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 choice — we're all players in that position and the guys who train best and play the best are going to play," the Switzerland international explained. "Obviously Guardiola will make changes because if he plays the same team every game there will be problems because your body just can't do it.
"It might not be easy and I can't expect to play every game but we have so many games coming up and we have injuries, suspensions, whatever but I'm trying to show the coach in every training session that I want to play. That is my goal.”