Dzeko eyes dream Shevchenko date
Edin Dzeko aims to get the better of a player he admires above all others and help steer Manchester City towards the quarter-finals of the Europa League on Thursday night.
The Bosnian striker is looking forward to pitting his wits against 34-year-old Andriy Shevchenko, who is now back at his first club Dynamo Kiev.
While Shevchenko made a name for himself in Italy with AC Milan, he failed to replicate his excellent form at Chelsea, scoring just nine goals in 47 appearances. But that has not dimished him in Dzeko's eyes as a player of top quality. The former Wolfsburg striker, however, is aiming to have better luck in England.
Dzeko, 24, said: "Shevchenko was always my favourite player. He was my idol. I met him a few years ago when Wolfsburg played Milan and we exchanged shirts. He was a fantastic player, he had some tough times in England but that's football. England is very different from other leagues and I'll have to get used to it. Hopefully I'll have a lot of success.''
Dzeko's only goals since arriving in the January transfer window have come in cup competitions, not the Premier League. And he could return to the team in the last-16 first leg meeting after having to settle for a place on the bench in the victory against Wigan at the weekend. Manager Roberto Mancini opted instead for a partnership of Carlos Tevez and summer signing Mario Balotelli. Dzeko does not mind who he plays alongside.
He said: "It's not only Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli is a great player and the coach has been playing all of us. We have to get used to each other in different games. I think we'll have a lot of success together.''
Mancini said: "These three strikers can play together somestimes but not always. When they do it's important that they work. As for Edin it is not easy to start with a new team in a new league in January but I believe he will become one of the best strikers in England.''
Shaun Wright-Phillips could come into contention after missing two games with a back problem. Nigel de Jong, who has recovered from an ankle injury, is pushing for his first start in over a month. James Milner is absent with a hamstring strain while Kolo Toure is banned indefinitely after failing a drugs test.
Mancini said: "Kolo is a serious professional player. We said one week ago that we want to win games for him.''