Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy has been working hard this summer in an attempt to stay fit for the whole season ahead.
And as Pep Guardiola's side head to Wembley for the FA Community Shield supported by McDonald's, the Frenchman believes a good campaign beckons for both him and the team as they target a successful defence of their Premier League title...
New hair colour. New season. New start for Benjamin Mendy?
I feel good, I feel nice with all of the staff, with the squad. This season we are all excited, happy to be back. We all feel good.
- The FA Community Shield supported by McDonald's
- 5.15pm, Saturday 7 August 2021
- Wembley Stadium connected by EE
- Live on ITV
You were one of the first players back for pre-season, how are you feeling?
It’s true, as most of the guys were playing at the EUROs or some others games with their national teams. And yes, when you come back as one of the first ten players, you have, it’s maybe not an advantage, but you can come back more sharp.
You’ve enjoyed a lot of game time in pre-season, are the matches helping you to discover your top form ahead of the new season?
Yes, I feel it’s coming back. I feel free, I feel nice, so I’m going to be ready for the new season and more.
This is a big game against strong opposition, how are you going to deal with Leicester’s threat?
To keep the same target, the same process. The way we play, to keep the ball, to enjoy the game with the ball if I’m well. We’ll try to win, to have the mentality to win the game.
You scored against the Foxes last season in April. Twice… and one with your right foot! Is it nice to get on the scoresheet? Are goals something you’ve been looking to add to your game?
When you finish a season you need to add some stuff to your game, to keep improving. As a defender, you need to defend first and get clean sheets, and be good on your side of the pitch – to look after the keeper. And then, on the attack, we need to assimilate with the team, to provide some passes and goals, to keep the system good.
City have been a regular in the Community Shield in recent years, what are your best memories of playing in these games?
I think it was my first year at City, I was playing against Chelsea. When I signed, the first big game was this one in the Community Shield, my best memory at Wembley. It was also my first title with City.
There’ll be a big crowd in attendance, are you looking forward to playing in front of big crowds again?
I can’t wait for that. It’s part of football, when we see the fans, even if you are tired they help you run back. You can feel the fans when they shout “Come on!”, it makes you feel more strong. They can help you at any moment of the game.
You’ve won every major domestic trophy in your four years at the club… what’s the target this season?
Every year we say that we know the target, but this year we’re not going to say anything!
You can read the full interview with Mendy in the official Community Shield match programme.