Pep open to bring­ing Toure back into Euro squad

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS - BY JACK PITT-BROOKE

YAYA TOURE (car­i­ca­ture) won the game sin­gle­hand­edly for Manch­ester City on Satur­day but he will not be in­volved this week when City fly to Ger­many to face Borus­sia Monchenglad­bach.

Toure, of course, was left out of the Cham­pi­ons League squad by Pep Guardi­ola back in Septem­ber.

Even af­ter his Sel­hurst Park hero­ics, he is still in a strange po­si­tion: one of City’s most re­spected, ex­pe­ri­enced and well-paid play­ers, but still only on the fringe of Guardi­ola’s plans.

So far this sea­son Guardi­ola has built his mid­field around Fer­nand­inho, Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gun­do­gan, with David Silva and Fer­nando in­volved as well. Now he has Toure, ar­guably one of the most im­por­tant play­ers in City’s his­tory, to call on too.

City have power and goals through the mid­dle but it comes from De Bruyne in­stead. But on Satur­day Toure played be­tween De Bruyne and Fer­nand­inho in mid­field, scor­ing both City goals as well as adding some pres­ence and calm against a very di­rect pow­er­ful op­po­nent.

He will cer­tainly be able to con­trib­ute that again over the next few months, es­pe­cially when the fix­tures pile up over Christ­mas.

All Toure wants to do now is to play foot­ball again.

Guardi­ola re­peated post-match that he was de­lighted for Toure’s fam­ily now he is back in the team. Guardi­ola, of course, coached Toure at Barcelona in 2008-09 and 2009-10.

Al­though Toure even­tu­ally left for Manch­ester City in 2010, Guardi­ola never wanted him to. There has never been a per­sonal is­sue be­tween Toure and Guardi­ola, al­though the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Dim­itry Sel­cuk and Guardi­ola is an­other story, and is the cause of Toure’s strange es­trange­ment this sea­son.

If Toure con­tin­ues to do well then Guardi­ola will have two de­ci­sions to make. The first con­cerns the Cham­pi­ons League squad for the tour­na­ment’s knock­out rounds.

City can change their list af­ter the group phase, pro­vid­ing they qual­ify. Guardi­ola said that in De­cem­ber, af­ter the group phase, he would take a se­ri­ous look at the make-up of the squad for the knock­out rounds that start in late Fe­bru­ary.

“He is an­other guy to com­pete with our mid­field play­ers and in­crease our level,” Guardi­ola said.

“Of course now he’s not able to play to­mor­row, in the last game against Celtic. If we are able to qual­ify in the Cham­pi­ons League, af­ter, I will sit with my staff and we will de­cide who are the best play­ers to help us to achieve in the Cham­pi­ons League games.”

The next ques­tion for City, if Toure does very well, con­cerns his con­tract. This is his last year and the ex­pec­ta­tion was that he would leave next sum­mer, seven years af­ter join­ing.

There have been very lu­cra­tive of­fers from China but Toure would rather stay in the Premier League if he can.

There could come a point, if Toure does very well, when City will con­sider ex­tend­ing his stay by an­other year. But that is a long way away yet.

For now City and Guardi­ola just have to up­date their plans, to ac­count for the fact that, one third of the way through the sea­son, they have fi­nally have Toure back.

Not that it means Guardi­ola re­grets tak­ing the stance that he did, a ques­tion he firmly de­nied. “I’m here to take de­ci­sions,” Guardi­ola said. “Maybe I make mistakes, but I have to take de­ci­sions. I re­spect that all the peo­ple can- no t agree with me. I can ac­cept that.” – The In­de­pen­dent

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