Lescott admits he must prove himself to Mancini

It seems like such a long time since Mark Hughes practically went to war to sign Joleon Lescott from Everton, but it is only 14 months since the defender arrived at Eastlands as a regular in the England squad with a £22 million price tag.

Lescott acknowledges that last season was a "disappointment" and, after struggling through the second half of the campaign with knee and hamstring problems, he was left out of England's World Cup squad.

Nedum Onuoha, who is now on loan at Sunderland, was deeply critical of the way Roberto Mancini handled Lescott's return to action, citing the Italian's behaviour as the reason the defender did not make it to South Africa.

Last season's problems – he failed to form a comfortable partnership with Kolo Touré – and the subsequent arrival of another seven players, including Aleksandar Kolarov and Jérôme Boateng, meant Lescott had been forgotten about.

But Kolarov's own injury problems have opened the door again and the 28-year-old Lescott has featured regularly at left-back for City, while injuries on the international stage have enabled him to start England's last two matches.

"Obviously there was disappointment last season but hopefully I have put that behind me now, and [can] stay in the team," Lescott said. "Staying fit has obviously helped. Playing regularly has helped my confidence and building an understanding with the players I'm playing with. You don't go out there intending not to play well, but sometimes it happens. Hopefully that's behind me.

"I wouldn't say the World Cup was a good one to miss. How many players want to get involved in a World Cup? I thought towards the end of last season I was getting some form and I was confident of breaking into the squad, but I got injured and did not get the chance. I was focused on coming back pre-season to get fit and I've played games for England. Hopefully that continues."

Although insecurity must be rife among the City squad, Lescott had to deal with the fact that he was one of Hughes' last signings and was injured when Mancini arrived. It is a feeling that remains despite his recent run in the side. "I'm still aware of that now," Lescott said. "Mark did bring me in and Roberto is going to have his own take on the team and the squad. I don't think I've proved myself to him yet. I still like to think I can improve. There's never going to be a time when I think 'OK, I don't have to go out there and play as well as I have to' because there's going to be someone wanting my shirt and that is what drives me. If I keep that drive then I'm sure I'll stay in the team."

Although it is unlikely to be as memorable as last season's 4-2 victory for the hosts, with Emmanuel Adebayor running the length of the pitch to celebrate, today will be another significant day at Eastlands. Despite Mancini's reputation for negativity, Chelsea and Liverpool have already been beaten there this season as City look to take another step towards dominating the English game with a title challenge.

Another victory today would only serve to increase that belief. "There's definitely more to come," Lescott said. "We don't want it to become a habit where we are not playing well and winning games. We want to get the balance right."

Mancini is partial to holding midfielders but he is also becoming renowned for being feisty, having gone toe to toe with David Moyes and becoming embroiled in a row with Carlos Tevez earlier this month.

Lescott added: "Last season when I was injured, I heard his voice and I thought 'wow'. I came to the games when I was injured and I heard it while I was stood in the corridor. He gets his message across. Sometimes there might be an occasion where he might speak a bit of Italian. It's not just for us to understand – it might be a little blast of emotion to get off his chest."

Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
News
i100
Travel
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect