Edin Dzeko has emphatically rejected his new label as a “super-sub”, stating that he wants to play more games for Manchester City, and arguing that his goals so far this season strengthen his case.
The Bosnian forward has struggled to break into Roberto Mancini’s starting XI in the 2012-13 campaign despite scoring more goals than squad rivals Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli.
While the imposing striker is currently not a first-team fixture for the Premier League champions, he is determined to make a starting role his own – and believes his record is ample evidence to justify a place.
“You can call me whatever you want but I will never accept that I’m a super-sub. I won the league in Germany and was top scorer there. I was never just a sub and I never will be one,” he told Telegraph Sport.
“I’m 26 years old and I played a lot of games before I came here to City and I scored a lot of goals in Germany and, before that, the Czech Republic.
“At the moment, maybe, it’s like that. It’s not great for me. But with my goals and with the goals I have scored so far this year I think I deserve to play more.”
Dzeko has five Premier League goals this season from just 371 minutes of football, while Tevez, Aguero and Balotelli have scored only six goals between them.
The £27 million man is frustrated by his lack of consistent appearances, and harbours dreams of a prolonged run in the side – and said while he enjoys playing for City, he should be featuring more often.
He continued: “I am enjoying it at City but I just want to play more. People think: ‘OK, he’s a nice guy and so he can sit on the bench,’ and, yes, I am a nice guy. But everyone has their limits.
“Of course I don’t expect to play every game. But I’m not talking about every game. What I don’t want is to play one game – and then the next two or three I’m not playing. As a striker you need to play a series of games. I know what I’m capable of.
“I came to City to play – if I was scared about playing here because I knew there were good players, top players, and more top players would come, then I would not have come here. But I came here because I know I can do it.”
And the striker pointedly made a reference to Mancini’s refusal to pick him consistently, suggesting the onus is on the manager, rather than himself, to change the situation: “I don’t need to speak to the manager, he knows how many goals I’ve scored.”