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‘No player opposition’ to Tevez return

MIDFIELDER Nigel de Jong claims all of Manchester City's players are ready to welcome Carlos Tevez back into the team.

The controversial Argentina striker has not played for City for six months, due to his infamous dispute with the club, but he could be in contention to return next week.

The 28-year-old has been training for the past month with a view to a first-team comeback and manager Roberto Mancini has said he is close to match fitness. Tevez could now be back in a City shirt in next Wednesday's Premier League clash against Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium and De Jong believes he could have a key role to play.

The Holland international said: “Everybody is keen. He is still a player for Manchester City, we never doubted that.

“We like to look to the future instead of the past.

“Nobody ever doubted his qualities. It was just the fact of him having some difficulties with the club.

“In the group, and as a player, he never changed. I think the qualities he had are an asset for any team, and also us at this stage.”

Tevez's return could give City a timely lift in their title challenge after surrendering top spot to arch-rivals Manchester United last weekend.

It has been suggested bringing Tevez back could unsettle forwards Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli but De Jong does not see it that way.

The 27-year-old said: “For us the main goal is to win the Premier League, nobody can distract us.

“I think it is just a big help towards the end of the season.”