Ilkay Gundogan is confident he will play for Germany at the 2018 World Cup after earning a recall for the friendlies against England and France.
The Manchester City midfielder has been selected for the national team for the first time in a year after suffering a cruciate ligament injury in a Premier League game against Watford last December.
He missed Germany’s deciding World Cup qualifiers but is happy to be back for Joachim Low’s side ahead of Friday’s game against England at Wembley.
“I am really happy to be nominated. The elite footballers of one country meet at the national team and it’s an honour for me to be among them,” Gundogan told SPOX.com.
“I haven’t earned as many caps as I should have. Because of this, it is maybe even more special for me to be back in the team.”
The 27-year-old has had to cope with various injuries in recent years. Since making his international debut in 2011, Gundogan has appeared in just 20 games for Germany and missed both the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016.
But he is hoping he will not suffer a repeat of those disappointments ahead of next summer’s World Cup in Russia, saying: “If I stay fit, I am sure that I will be in the World Cup squad.”
During his injury lay-off, Gundogan enjoyed the backing of the national federation of Germany. He said: “The DFB gave me an extremely good feeling in the past years. They made sure that I still feel important although I have been ruled out for some months from time to time.
“I feel the trust and want to pay back for it now.”
He is eager to make an impression in the two friendlies against England and at home to France, adding: “I expect that I will play. If I am needed, I must be ready.
“I have no fear. It would be the completely wrong thing to go into games with fear. I feel modesty and gratitude for being allowed to be back on the pitch. I am just enjoying it.”