US keeper relishing rare chance to shine as City ponder Aguero recall

Zack Steffen

Manchester City’s second-choice goalkeeper Zack Steffen is hoping to take his chance with both hands as he prepares for the opportunity to play in the Champions League.

The American is expected to face Marseille in City’s final Group C game at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

With City having already secured their place in the last 16, Pep Guardiola has indicated he will make wholesale changes to his side.

Steffen, who joined City’s first-team squad in the summer after a year’s loan with Fortuna Dusseldorf, said: “I remember watching this (Champions League) for as long as I can remember. Walking out and hearing the song is going to be really special for me and the family. I’m excited to get out there and play another game with this club.”

Steffen admitted it was disappointing to hear booing as players took the knee against racial discrimination at a Championship fixture at Millwall over the weekend.

Steffen has set up his own foundation, Voyce Now, in the United States to provide support and education for black communities.

He said: “It’s very disappointing. It opens your eyes. Not everybody understands the situation.

“That’s OK. We can’t teach everybody but we can talk to people and have discussions and show them why we’re fighting, taking the knee, taking back to the disadvantaged communities that have been oppressed.

“We need to educate these people for the reasons why we’re fighting.”

Guardiola said he has a fully-fit squad available, meaning Sergio Aguero could be ready to return.

Aguero, who has made just four appearances this season, has missed the last three games due to discomfort in his knee.

Guardiola said: “We will decide tomorrow. Maybe (he will be) on the bench. Tomorrow we make a training session, see how his reaction in his body.

“What is important is the last two, three days he was part of the group, his reaction and if the niggles he had in the past disappeared.”

City squad stars to get some minutes

Guardiola has again stressed he will not be rotating his squad for purposes of resting players ahead of this weekend’s Manchester derby, but he wants to give other players more minutes.

He said: “Like I said, we will play to win the game. I don’t rotate the team, I put all the players in the best condition and decide the best team for this game.

“There is not one team for one competition. If someone made a lot of minutes and has a lot of problems of course we consider, but I don’t rest players. The team that will play tomorrow can play against United.”

Midfielder Phil Foden is one of the players likely to come into the side. The youngster has not started in the Premier League since October but has started the last four Champions League games.

Guardiola said: “All the season for him was top, since the first game he played, so good, and he scored.

“Of course he has to improve the final decision in the box and be more patient but it’s part of the age. We are delighted to have him and he’s an incredibly important player to have.”

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