Joleon Lescott has been assured he will not be sold in the January transfer window by Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini.

The former Everton defender has found first team action hard to come by following the summer arrival of Matija Nastasić, and has made only seven starts at the Etihad Stadium this term.

That has prompted rumours he could soon leave Manchester City, with rumours suggesting he could be primed for a return to Goodison Park on a temporary basis.

However Mancini insists Lescott has a big role to play as Manchester City go in search of defending the Premier League crown they won so dramatically last year.

“Joleon is a serious man, he always works hard,” said Mancini.

“He played the last 15 minutes against Newcastle, he played against Dortmund. It’s important for him to continue playing and working like he is.”

Dutch youngster Karim Rekik was preferred at full-back for the Citizens in their dramatic win over Reading on Saturday, despite Lescott being well-versed in the position.

Mancini insists that opting for Rekik over Lescott wasn’t a slight on the 30-year-old.

“Yes, Karim played left-back,” he said. “We played with Matija Nastasic at left-back in Dortmund, but he’s a centre back.

“Also we played against Liverpool with Joleon at left-back. Karim can play centre-back, but played full-back in the Championship so it was not a problem for him.”

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