Manchester City winger Leroy Sane has confirmed that he was "on the verge" of making his long-awaited return from injury before football was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sane has not played for Pep Guardiola's side since the Community Shield in August, when he suffered a serious knee ligament injury which has ruled him out for the entire campaign so far.
However, the Germany international had turned out for the Man City Under-23 side on a couple of occasions during the final stages of his recovery, and he believes that he is now just one or two competitive matches away from being fully fit once again.
"After being injured for such a long time I didn't want to jump straight back in again, but rather take the time that my body needed," the 24-year-old told the German FA's official websiite.
"That's why I suggested that I should play for the youth team first so that I could get used to the speed of the game step by step. Lots of people were surprised but for me it was the logical first step to make; that's what I planned to do from the start and what I told the coach.
"Overall I felt really good and was on the right track; I was on the verge of making my comeback. I still need one or two competitive games to get back to full fitness so that I can get my confidence back again, which is very important."
Sane also stated his belief that the 2019-20 season should be finished after the coronavirus pandemic dies down, even if it has to be behind closed doors.