Shaun Wright-Phillips’s City career has been thrown a lifeline by boss Roberto Mancini.
The Blues manager has hinted that the 29-year-old winger could play his way back into his plans – if he has a good pre-season in California.
Wright-Phillips is lined up to play a part in the opening match of City’s tour, against Mexican side Club America, in San Francisco tonight.
But it appeared at the start of the summer that Wright-Phillips was heading for the exit, especially with the Blues hot on the trail of Alexis Sanchez.
There was strong interest from both Bolton and Wigan, but no concrete offers for the £7million-rated Wright-Phillips.
Sanchez is on the verge of joining Barcelona, and that could leave an opening for the England man.
Said Mancini: “Shaun is here with us in America and he is working hard.
“We will have to see what happens during pre-season because he has Manchester City in his blood, but he’s still a young guy and it’s not easy for me to leave him on the bench all the time.
“We will see what happens and need to find a solution that makes him happy, but everything is possible.”
The City manager also repeated his desire to see Carlos Tevez stay, even as City denied that they have had a £45million bid from Juventus.
“I’m not sure what is happening with Carlos Tevez at this moment,” said Mancini, who has left the negotiating to chief executive Garry Cook and football administration officer Brian Marwood.
“Obviously I would want him to stay because he is someone who is very difficult to replace, but if he goes, this is football and there is nothing anyone can do about it.”
Mancini has also warned his team that, despite the fans’ euphoria at ending 35 trophy-less years last season, the FA Cup was not an endpoint for the club.
“The FA Cup should be the start for us,” said Mancini, expected to field a mixture of first-teamers and fringe players in tonight’s game at the AT&T Stadium
“I think that for us the most important thing for us last season was that we won the cup. But now it is important to continue to work well, to improve.
“I am very happy with the way we have started this pre-season on this tour. The players are working very well and it is very important that we work like this.
“It is important to have a good confidence going into the new season. We can work with tranquillity here, and I think the mentality of the squad was changed last year.
“But now it is a new season, the past is finished, and this will be a very hard and long season for us.”