TOURE IS ‘STILL VI­TAL’ TO CITY

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT - By JAMES ROB­SON

PEP Guardiola in­sists Yaya Toure still has a ma­jor part to play for City this sea­son – but re­fused to con­firm if he will be re­called for to­day’s game against Wat­ford.

Toure, who wasn’t seen with the rest of the squad as they flew out to Wat­ford last night, has been omit­ted from City’s last two match day squads and didn’t travel to Rot­ter­dam for Wed­nes­day’s Cham­pi­ons League win against Feyeno­ord.

Guardiola mys­te­ri­ously claimed the Ivo­rian knew the ‘rea­sons why’ he’d been frozen out – rais­ing fresh doubts about his fu­ture.

But the City man­ager is adamant Toure re­mains an im­por­tant part of his plans.

“We need him,” he said. “I need him and the team needs him. He was so im­por­tant last sea­son. He’ll be so im­por­tant this sea­son.”

Toure was frozen out of City’s first team and dropped from their squad for the group stages of the Cham­pi­ons League last sea­son. But he forced his way back into Guardiola’s plans af­ter is­su­ing an apol­ogy for his agent Dim­itri Seluk’s public crit­i­cism of the Blues man­ager.

He be­came a piv­otal part of City’s mid­field in the sec­ond half of the sea­son, earn­ing him­self a new one-year deal.

Which is why his ab­sence in the early weeks of this cam­paign has come as such a sur­prise.

Guardiola says he is now ready to wel­come him back into the fold. But asked if Toure would fea­ture against Wat­ford, the man­ager of­fered no as­sur­ances, say­ing only: “We will see.”

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