Kelechi Iheanacho is backing himself to help Manchester City achieve their “dreams”, even though the competition for a place is about to get twice as hard.
The 20-year-old Nigeria striker gave Pep Guardiola a hefty nudge with his sixth goal in 14 games to give the Blues a cushion at Hull.
But the fact that he has been left on the bench for three out of the four games for which Sergio Aguero has been suspended has cast doubt over his future at City.
And with £27 million buy, Gabriel Jesus, due to arrive in Manchester in the next fortnight, Iheanacho will soon be up against the main strikers for both Argentina and Brazil for just one place in the team.
Guardiola has preferred to play midfielder Kevin De Bruyne or wide men Raheem Sterling or Nolito as the focal point of attack, leaving Iheanacho to play six minutes against Arsenal and the last half-hour at Hull.
He gave the Blues a better shape at the KCOM Stadium and, while he is far too polite to criticise Guardiola, he hinted that sometimes it needs a natural striker to lead the line.
“I thought we played well in the first half, but as a striker you have to be in the box – that is where the goals come,” he said.
Aguero is now available again after serving his four-match ban for a lunge at David Luiz, and is expected to return to the team for the New Year’s Eve.
Jesus will link up after his transfer is completed early in January, which means Iheanacho will be pitted against two of the world’s current top strike talents, with a manager who often prefers midfielders in any case!
Not that Iheanacho is showing signs of being fazed by the propsect.
“We are happy to have Sergio back in the team, but I need patience to get my chance,” he said.
“Whoever the manager picks is going to play, but our attacking players can play in so many different positions so he has plenty of choice. Personally I have to wait for my chance.
“There is always a lot of competition at a big club like Manchester City, so I need to keep working hard, having patience and hoping for the best.
“We need everyone to help – Sergio, Gabriel and myself. That is how we will achieve our dreams.
“You need that patience, if you are starting or coming on from the bench – you never know who the manager is going to use.
“He can change the team at any time and use any player. He trusts everybody so I think he has to make the right decisions for the team – and that means you need patience to come in.”