Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure says he was not surprised by his recall to the first team after ending his three-month exile with both goals in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.
The 33-year-old Ivorian was a shock selection at Selhurst Park for his first Premier League game this season.
But Toure said: “I was prepared mentally and I knew that one day my manager would need me.
“I was delighted to play and I am very happy to be playing football.”
Toure, a two-time Premier League title winner with City, had been out in the cold at the club since the end of August.
City manager Pep Guardiola had said he he would not be picked until his agent, Dimitri Seluk, apologised for comments he made when Toure was left out of City’s Champions League squad.
Toure said sorry on Seluk’s behalf at the start of November but there had been no indication from Guardiola that his situation had changed, and few people even knew he was in the City squad that travelled to south London.
He was given a noisy reception by the travelling City fans, who chanted his name throughout the game, and his efforts were also appreciated by his team-mates, who clapped him back into the dressing room at the final whistle.
“My team-mates are very important to me,” added Toure. “They have always been brilliant with me, always supportive.
“I always want to be there to help them. I am professional, I always want to improve my game.”
Guardiola had picked Toure in only one of City’s previous 19 games this season – a Champions League qualifying play-off second leg against Steaua Bucharest in August that was a virtual dead rubber after City had won the first game 6-0.
But the City boss says he has been impressed by the player’s application while he was out of favour and feels he has a part to play in his side’s title challenge.
“The last month and a half, Yaya was amazing in training,” Guardiola explained. “His behaviour is absolutely everything.
“His team-mates love him. He is going to help us to rotate the team, we need that.
“I am so happy for Yaya, he is a really nice guy. His weight is perfect now, and there are no doubts about his quality.
“At the beginning we did not count on him, he would not be here, but he can play many positions and we have one more man to help us achieve our targets.”
“It has been a long stand-off between Yaya and Pep, with his agent in the middle of it. It’s gone on for three months but he was determined to make up for it.
“Toure almost won the title for City here a few years ago and on Saturday he was at it again.”