Young Aro Muric gunning for second League Cup winner's medal with Manchester City

Alam Khan - Reporter 09:04 23/01/2019
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Muric has been City's first-choice goalkeeper in the League Cup.

Standing tall at 6ft 5in, Aro Muric has proved an imposing barrier for anyone trying to find a way past Manchester City in this season’s League Cup.

And the 20-year-old is eager to claim another winner’s medal to help him on his way to making giant strides in the game like his goalkeeping idol Thibaut Courtois.

“I always liked Courtois when he was at Chelsea and now Real Madrid,” said Muric of the Belgium No1, who won league titles in England and Spain and the League Cup in 2015. “He’s as tall as me, a great shot stopper with great quality.

“I think I can play at this level. I know I still have a lot to learn, but maybe one day I will be able to play consistently well in the first team.

“It was hard growing up, but I believed in the dream and believed in myself and dreams can come true.”

Muric was relatively unknown when he was hastily recalled from a loan spell at NAC Breda after City’s No2 keeper Claudio Bravo suffered a season-ending achilles tendon injury in August.

And the quietly-spoken stopper has made the most of his opportunity as backup to Ederson, impressive as City stand on the brink of a fourth League Cup final in six years.

They visit League One side Burton Albion tonight with a nine-goal lead from a ruthless first-leg display.

Muric’s heroics in the quarter final at Leicester were just as crucial in their march to Wembley, though, as he saved two penalties in a tense shoot-out win.

“I just enjoy it, and there’s no pressure,” he told Sport360 exclusively. “In the Leicester game I felt like it was back on the training pitch and just did the same, always be confident. I just enjoy being out there, just love football.

“It was strange, that first-leg game against Burton. We won so well and it’s always good to be on the pitch with this team. I didn’t have much to do, but I just enjoyed the view, the goals.

“It’s just a pleasure to watch these players, the way they play, and as a team.

“I won’t think we are in the final already, I will play the same as always and the team as well. We will just give our best to win again, not think of the [first-leg] score.

“It was surprising for me to come into the team of course, but I’m just happy it did. It’s been a good year so far for me and I think it could be even better now.”

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Muric’s season has seen him make five senior appearances, one for Breda too, and concede just the one goal at Leicester.

He also made his international debut for Kosovo, in a 4-0 Nations League win over Azerbaijan, having switched after representing Montenegro Under-21s.

“It’s special to play for my country and for my family as well, it makes me so happy and I just want to get better and do more,” said Muric, born in Switzerland to Albanian parents from Rozaje.

Tracked by clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and Stoke, the Premier League was always a likely destination for him when he decided to leave Grasshoppers Zurich in 2015.

But, with input and advice from his mother, Muric – who is set to sign a new long-term deal with the club – chose City, where his outfield hero and Montenegro frontman Stevan Jovetic had spent two seasons.

“I always watched English football when I was younger and was a fan of Man City,” he added.

“I’ve been a big fan of Stevan Jovetic, he was here and I followed his career.

“He had injuries here, but I enjoyed watching him, how he played. It’s been a dream for me to get here too and now it’s coming true.

“It’s been great for me to play in the cup, a great feeling and I hope we are going to win it.

“It would be nice to play in the final too [if we get there] but that will be the coach’s decision.

“I went to the final [against Arsenal] last season with the team as part of the squad and it was nice, a big stadium, the history. It was my first winner’s medal for the club last season and I hope we can get it again.”

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