Lescott considers City future
Joleon Lescott has admitted getting left out of the England squad for the recent World Cup qualifiers was a "reality check" that made him seriously consider his Manchester City future.
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16. Joleon Lescott
As it turned out, the withdrawals of Rio Ferdinand and Gary Cahill meant Lescott not only got a call-up, but played in the matches against San Marino and Montenegro, even getting the honour of leading the team for the final 20 minutes of the former game once Frank Lampard had been replaced.
Yet the whole experience made Lescott think afresh about his future.
With a year remaining on his Manchester City contract, the 30-year-old insists he would like to sign an extension.
However, in making only his 14th Premier League start of the season in the 2-1 win over West Ham, it underlined a lack of matches that could end up costing him a place on the plane to Brazil next year, should England qualify.
"It would be tough to have another season like this," said Lescott.
"I've only started 14 games and that is not great going into a World Cup.
"If my place in the squad was secure at international level then it would be a little bit easier.
"But I only got into the last squad by default.
"It was a reality check and made me realise I need to make a decision and it needs to be the right one for my career."
Internationally, the situation has been made even more complicated by John Terry's willingness to return to the fold.
It does seems highly unlikely given the political problems it would cause, not least involving Ferdinand, whom Roy Hodgson is thought to be considering for selection for the post-season friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Brazil.
Nevertheless, it is something else for Lescott to consider.
"It is up to John," said Lescott.
"I believe if I am playing at a consistent level I can retain my place in the (England) team. I'm sure John feels the same.
"No disrespect to him but he hasn't played regularly for his club either. Probably there is only Phil Jagielka (of the England centre-halves) who has."
Lescott's appearances at City have been restricted since manager Roberto Mancini took the gamble of plunging 20-year-old Matija Nastasic into his starting line-up for the Champions League trip to Real Madrid in September.
The move paid off handsomely, with Nastasic subsequently underlining his status as one of the best young players in the Premier League with a series of mature displays.
"I have no gripe with him. You don't begrudge someone who comes in and does well," said Lescott.
"It was a bit harsh he was not nominated for PFA Young Player of the Year.
"He plays beyond his years and if he was English he would have had a lot more recognition.
"He's not a glamorous sort of player who comes out with the ball. He just does his job exceptionally well."
It was Nastasic who got the call for the FA Cup semi-final with Chelsea, even though Lescott had started three of the previous four rounds.
Lescott is phlegmatic about his chances of being selected for the final against Wigan on May 11, when City will look to extend their run of landing major silverware to three seasons.
"I have played in the majority of the earlier rounds but it is up to the manager to decide on the day," he said.
"Whoever is in the team knows they can do a job and all believe we can give a good account of ourselves.
"Obviously my future has been well documented but this is a special club to me.
"I feel like we've done a lot together and I'd love to stay.
"But I am not naive enough to think I'm definitely going to.
"If at the end I can say I've won two FA Cups, the Premier League and a Community Shield during my time at City then it wouldn't be too bad would it?"