Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is determined to be fit for the start of the new season after stepping up his recovery from a serious knee injury.
The Germany international saw a promising debut campaign at the Etihad Stadium cruelly ended in December when he sustained cruciate ligament damage against Watford.
Gundogan has finally returned to light training after his lengthy lay-off, but there will be no break for the 26-year-old, who is giving up some of his vacation time to get ready for pre-season.
"I think I'm in a good way. I'm working hard," he told the club's official website. "I'm staying longer in Manchester than the rest of the squad.
"They are now on holiday but I am staying longer and I'm also coming back earlier to have my own little pre-season before the rest of the team starts.
"So hopefully I can join the rest of the lads for pre-season – maybe not 100 per cent but I am increasing day by day the work and hopefully being ready for the first Premier League game. I can't wait to be back."
Gundogan made 15 appearances in all competitions for Pep Guardiola's side, scoring five goals, before being struck down by injury.