x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Tevez to give a selection headache for Manchester City says Vieira

Former France midfielder and Manchester City ambassador says if Argentine can give something back then everyone at Premier League club will be happy. Sports round-up audio

Patrick Vieira, who works at Manchester City as a football development chief executive, coaches children at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Vieira has won 12 titles as a player.
Patrick Vieira, who works at Manchester City as a football development chief executive, coaches children at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Vieira has won 12 titles as a player.

ABU DHABI // Patrick Vieira says Roberto Mancini will face a selection dilemma should the Manchester City manager decide to integrate Carlos Tevez back into the first-team squad.

The Argentine reported back to the club on Tuesday night after exiling himself in South America for three months and was not part of the squad who trained ahead of Thursday night's Europa League game at Porto.

The striker, who failed to land his desired move to AC Milan last month, will undergo a series of medical and fitness assessments and is likely to work with the conditioning team at the club's Carrington training ground on a specific fitness programme to get him into the required shape to be considered for a place in the City attack, which already boasts Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli.

"The manager will have a tough choice choosing a starting XI," Vieira, City's football development executive, said on Wednesday.

"When you see what Carlos did last season, it is clear what he can do for the team but it is not my decision. That is down to Roberto and other people at the club so if Carlos comes back and can give something to the football club then I think everyone will be happy."

Vieira said he has a "close relationship" with the players but declined to comment on the effect Tevez, who has sought to engineer a move away from the club several times, would have on the dressing room. He was, however, much more comfortable in extolling the managerial virtues of Mancini, the Italian who has been at loggerheads with the Argentine.

"We have quite a good relationship," said Vieira. "I worked with him at Inter and he's a winner. He came to City to win and he has the desire to do well. He was really successful at Inter and he wants to be really successful at City and you can't blame a manager who wants to be successful."

Mancini imported Vieira from Inter Milan two years ago, believing his experience of winning 11 trophies in England, including three Premier League titles, would rub off on his expensive but inexperienced squad.

Vieira signed off his career by adding a 12th title to his CV by winning the FA Cup with City last summer and has since moved upstairs into an executive role.

He says he is "enjoying the role", and has not felt the need to pass on his title-winning experience to a City side chasing their first English league title in 40 years.

"They players don't need advice [from me] as the players are really focused," Vieira said. "They are so committed for every game. We know it is difficult to win the league but we know the players will fight until the end. It's going to be difficult and will go right until the end. Manchester United have been there and know what it takes. Sir Alex Ferguson knows the league better than anyone else. It will be a big challenge but everyone is ready."

Vieira was joined at the club by fellow Frenchmen Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy in the summer but says he had little influence on their decision to swap his former club Arsenal for the Etihad Stadium.

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"It was their decision," Vieira said. "Gael and Samir decide for themselves they wanted to come. They are French and I know them really well and they asked me some questions and I gave them the answers and they made the final decision.

"They have settled in really good. Samir has been a fantastic asset and so has Gael."

kaffleck@thenational.ae