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World Cup player focus #6 Ilkay Gundogan

RUSSIA 2018: We take a look at Ilkay Gundogan's international career

RUSSIA 2018: We take a look at Ilkay Gundogan's international career

We continue our World Cup player profiles with City's German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan…

RUSSIA 2018: City players' Group stage schedule

Squad role: Gundogan didn’t start Germany’s opening match against Mexico, a game the holders lost 1-0. It was unusual to see a Germany side completely outplayed by a team who were quicker to the ball and more inventive in attacking areas. Only profligacy in front of goal denied the South Americans more goals.

Germany played a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos operating in the deep-lying midfield roles Gundogan would most naturally challenge for. He needs to find a way of convincing manager Joachim Low that he can bring something different to the table if he is to force his way into the side.

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International highlights: Gundogan has played 26 times for Germany, scoring four goals, but his involvement at major tournaments has been hampered by injury.

Four years ago in Brazil, he wasn’t part of the 23-man squad that went on to lift the trophy in the Maracana having suffered a back injury that kept him on the sidelines for 14 months.

And it was the same story two years ago at the European Championships in France. Having scored two goals in qualifying, against Gibralter and Scotland, he then missed the finals due to a dislocated kneecap.

He’ll be desperate to play a part this time around.

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