Rico Lewis believes Manchester City are ready to put a marker down at Arsenal this weekend after getting their campaign back on track in Leipzig.
City returned to winning ways after successive defeats with a 3-1 triumph in a hard-fought Champions League encounter at the Red Bull Arena on Wednesday.
The treble winners’ focus now shifts to Sunday’s trip to the Emirates Stadium and a clash with their closest challengers in last season’s title race.
“It (Sunday’s game) is a way we can put a stamp on the season and really make sure the rest of the league knows we’re aiming to do the same as last season.
“Obviously we were a bit unlucky with the results and performances so we were a bit down, but it’s never down for too long. There’s always another game and everyone is always up for it.”
Lewis, 18, produced one of the best performances of his fledgling career as City continued their winning start to their European title defence.
Manager Pep Guardiola later described the youngster as one of the best players he has ever trained.
Playing alongside Rodri, Lewis brought tenacity and dynamism as he combined tireless defensive work with driving runs.
He created the opening goal for fellow Academy graduate Phil Foden in the 25th minute after playing a one-two with Bernardo Silva.
He was a constant handful for RB Leipzig although, after a Lois Openda equaliser, it took late goals from substitutes Julian Alvarez and Jeremy Doku to settle the Group G encounter.
“I do my best,” said Lewis, who first broke into the side as a right-back, rather modestly.
“I think it’s just all about patience for myself. There are so many world-class players in that dressing room so all I can do is my best and learn.
“That’s my favourite position I think, even (more than) coming inside from full-back. I think playing a bit higher up then defending as a two with Rodri is my favourite.”
With Rodri completing a three-match domestic ban this weekend, it seems likely Lewis will be given another opportunity on the big stage, although he has not yet been told.
He said: “I don’t have any hopes or anything. I do my best and we’ll see what happens on Sunday. It’s all about what the manager chooses and decides is right.”
Foden echoed Guardiola’s praise of Lewis when asked for his assessment of his young team-mate.
“He’s one of the best young players I’ve seen,” said the England international. “He seems to up our tempo and makes us play a bit quicker.
“The performances he’s putting in at such a young age is great to see. He’s only going to get better with this coach, how he improves players. He just has to pay attention and want to get better.
“Normally when you’re 18 you’re a bit shy in these big games. He’s the total opposite. He wants the ball, wants to impress.
“I like his determination. He’s going to be a quality player, he just needs the game time.
“I’m delighted to have another Academy player playing in these big games. It’s a dream come true for me.”