Emre Can started 2016-17 slowly, hindered by a short summer and a series of calf injuries, but by the end of it he looked a nailed-on starter and one of Liverpool’s key players as the club fought to finish strong and return to the Champions League.
This year, he’s determined to hit the ground running—to start the 2017-18 season the same way that he ended the last one, and with it to nail down a starting role not just at Liverpool but also perhaps for Germany ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
“It’s a big season,” Can noted in an interview with the club’s official webside. “For the team as well. Last season we did quite well, but we could do better. Myself, I want to push on as well, and I want to vave good confidence and play a good season.
“Last season was not my best season, to be honest. It was difficult for me at the beginning with a few calf problems and everything, but at the end of the season I felt very good and I want to push on and go in with that feeling at the start of the season.”
With both Can and captain Jordan Henderson fit heading into the season, minutes will be hard to come by at the base of midfield, and given his earlier return and strong showings so far over the summer, the safe money is on Henderson being first choice.
Still, there will be minutes for Can—especially as Liverpool are yet to bring in the midfield reinforcement they would seem to need, with their pursuit of Naby Keïta having ended in failure. Some, though, may come in a more advance role.
With the calf issues behind him, though, the hope is that won’t be a problem, and that minutes in both a more reserved and advanced role will help Can find regular minutes even if everyone else stays fit. And for his part, at least, Can says he’s feeling confident.
“I learned a lot and got a lot of experience,” Can added, referring to his role over the summer with Germany, who won the Confederations Cup. “If you win a trophy you get confidence. I got confidence and now I want to go into the season with confidence.”