Football - Lescott just wants to play

Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott is determined to seize any opportunity to prove he still has a future at the club.

PA Sport

Lescott has been unable to hold down a regular first-team place at the Etihad Stadium over the past year.

The 31-year-old, despite an outstanding 2011-12 campaign, when City won the Barclays Premier League, appeared to fall out of favour under former boss Roberto Mancini last season.

New manager Manuel Pellegrini has also given Lescott only limited opportunities and he accepts his prospects of going to next summer's World Cup with England could be receding as a result.

It is a frustrating situation for the former Everton centre-back, who cost City £22million in 2009, particularly as his contract expires at the end of the season.

But with injuries, particularly to captain Vincent Kompany, regularly disrupting the defence this season, Lescott is not without hope of re-establishing himself.

He said: "It is hard not playing. No professional enjoys it and I am no different.

"It is not great not playing in the last year of my contract.

"The situation is not ideal but I just have to try to play well when I am given the opportunity.

"We all train through the week to play and then when you are not it is disheartening.

"But you have to keep yourself mentally and physically right so when you are given the opportunity to play, you are not letting anyone down.

"I want to stay, that is the main thing.

"But the club have not approached me yet, so I don't know what the situation is with them.

"If I am playing for my future here, then great. If I am playing for it elsewhere, then so be it.

"I just know that every time I am out there, I have to perform at a level where top clubs would be interested in signing me."

If Lescott's performances do put him in the shop window, the possibility of a move in the January transfer window might present itself.

Lescott, who began his career at Wolves, says that is something he could not rule out, even if he has not yet considered it.

He said: "It depends what the club wants and what opportunities there are for me.

"I am not just going to leave a club like this for the sake of it, but at the end of the season I would have to.

"So nothing can happen now. I can't speak to any clubs and no clubs can approach me.

"But when that opportunity comes, if it does come in January, I will have to look at that."

Lescott, who has won 26 England caps, featured prominently in the World Cup qualifiers last season but has not been used by Roy Hodgson since March.

Central defence has been a problematic position for the national side but Lescott, after just eight starts this season, has been unable to state his case for a recall strongly.

He said: "It does not look like I am going at the minute. I have not been in the last few squads, so it is going to be hard.

"But if I am playing for City and we are progressing in the Champions League and the title race, then there might be a place for me.

"I can't look that far ahead. No disrespect to England, but my main priority is Man City.

"I have not given up. But I know that comes from playing for Man City, so the faster I can get myself back in at City the better."

Lescott played the second half against Tottenham last weekend and then started the Champions League clash with Viktoria Plzen in midweek.

With Kompany not yet fit to return and Matija Nastasic facing a three-week lay-off, he hopes to continue.

He said: "I need to be given a fair opportunity. No-one can guarantee I am going to play every week but I would like to think that if I am playing and the team is playing well, then I can stay in the team.

"I just want to be treated the same as everyone else. So if I am playing and the team is winning, then I stay in the team, the same as everyone else.

"Realistically, there is only one place up for grabs when Vinny is fit.

"There are three of us for fighting for that, but I am ready for the challenge."

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