Yaya Touré has not been included in Manchester City’s travelling party for Tuesday’s Champions League play-off first leg against Steaua Bucharest, casting further doubt over his future at the club under Pep Guardiola.
The Ivorian was also not involved in Saturday’s Premier League opening day win over Sunderland.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference at the Arena Nationala, Guardiola said: “He is a player of us and he is training amazing, but I was not sure if he was going to play, and so I prefer it if he stays there training good in Manchester.
“We travelled with two young guys and for the selection I prefer it to be the young guys than Yaya Touré.
“I prefer it if he stays there training and focuses on the next game. I have a lot of respect of him, for his career and quality, but for the first days – against Sunderland – we were looking for a more intensive game. That is why he didn’t play, the only reason why.”
Jason Denayer, the Belgian centre-half, is also absent from the group that travelled to the Romanian capital amid reports of a possible move away from the club, though young players Angus Gunn, Tosin Adarabioyo and Angel Tasende have made the trip.
Leroy Sané remains injured, while Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony and Eliaquim Mangala have been left out.
Touré’s agent said the midfielder would stay and fight for his place. “Pep is the best manager in the world and I just hope he gives Yaya the chance to prove he is still good enough for City,” Dmitri Seluk said.
“He has not been included against Sunderland or Bucharest but that’s OK. He is fit to play right now.
“Guardiola has to learn all about the players he has available. The performance against Sunderland was far from perfect,” added Seluk.
“This is a very good process for Yaya. It will allow him [to prove] in training and in matches that he is still a wonderful player. But there is no talk of a transfer. Yaya will stay and fight.”
Touré, who captained Ivory Coast to the African Nations Cup title in 2015, has won both La Liga and the Premier League twice, as well as the Champions League with Barcelona in 2009 when Guardiola was coach.