Pep Guardiola will give Eliaquim Mangala the chance to prove he has a long-term future at Manchester City.
The much-maligned defender, who spent last season on loan at Valencia, seemed set leave to leave the Etihad Stadium in the summer as City tried to sign West Brom’s Jonny Evans.
Neither eventuality occurred and Mangala, who struggled to make an impact after his £42million move to City in 2014, was restored to the first-team squad.
Now with John Stones out injured and captain Vincent Kompany unlikely to play every one of City’s 11 fixtures over the next five weeks, 26-year-old Mangala is set to feature.
Guardiola said: “He’s a player with a lot of experience. I’m really impressed with his behaviour in the training sessions. He didn’t play regularly until now but he always accepts that and he is always helping.
“For a manager, for a club, for the environment that is so important. He has specific qualities and in this league it’s important. We are going to use him. We believe we need him. He’s a player for us and he is going to stay here.”
Mangala offered his own thoughts on the situation.
“We’ve got a big squad here, so many players that are good for the team,” he said. “It’s good because we have so many competitions to play, so many games.
“So we have to be patient sometimes. In my case that’s happened to me. I didn’t play a lot of games.
“I think this moment is very important when you want to win titles. In December and January you have so many games.
“You play a lot of games and some players go to their national teams, so we need everybody and it’s good for me that I can play some games and I can help the team.
“This is very important to me. I’m here when the manager needs me to play. I’m just waiting for the opportunity.”