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MANCHESTER CITY

Manchester City: Gabriel Jesus itching for more starts

Since joining Manchester City in January 2017, Gabriel Jesus has been unable to dislodge Sergio Agüero as Pep Guardiola's first choice.

I'm over waiting - Jesus itching for more Man City starts

Gabriel Jesus concedes he is frustrated by still having Sergio Agüero in his way at Manchester City.

Brazil striker Jesus joined the Premier League champions from Palmeiras in January 2017 and, during his first year at the club, threatened to unseat Agüero as City's first-choice striker.

However, untimely foot and knee injuries hindered his progress as the club's all-time record goalscorer Agüero attuned himself to Guardiola's demands.

A goalless World Cup with Brazil in 2018 preceded a tough campaign last time around – even if Jesus did manage 21 goals in all competitions – but impressive showings with his country on the way to Copa América glory have seen the 22-year-old emerge in more confident mood for 2019-20.

As in the 5-0 opening weekend win over West Ham and 3-0 Champions League triumph at Shakhtar Donetsk, Jesus marked a starting chance with a goal during the midweek EFL Cup victory at Preston North End.

"It's my fourth season, and that makes me want to play more"

Agüero has scored in every Premier League game so far this season and is expected to return for Saturday's trip to Everton – a predicament Jesus understands despite some growing impatience.

"I'm over the 'I have to wait' phase. I've been here for almost three years, it's my fourth season, and that makes me want to play more," he told Esporte Interativo.

"Obviously it's very hard to compete for a place with Agüero, the biggest legend of this club, although it's good for the team - he plays well when in the team and I do the same.

"I do understand Pep's decisions and respect Sergio, his history here and what he's doing now.

"People say that I'm a sub in a negative way but they forget I'm not on the bench due to bad performances.

"It's because Agüero has been superb. I've learnt not how to wait but how to understand this situation."

Jesus acknowledged last season took a toll.

He added: "Personally, last season was very hard. I didn't get the chance to play in many games and many important games.

"I remember the Tottenham match at home in the Champions League [quarter-finals]. I was very frustrated about not playing and, of course, City being knocked out.

"It does hurt when you don't get chances in important games, so I was disappointed at the end of last season. I think that's normal and I've never been unprofessional about it. I was very upset but I did understand.

"I kept my mind in the right place and finished the season playing a final [City's treble-clinching 6-0 FA Cup final win over Watford] and scoring twice.

"During my holidays I could see ahead and project this season differently. I've played six games so far, playing well and scoring goals.

"That's my focus, I don't want to steal anyone's spot in the first team. Things happen naturally."