Yaya Toure to be added to Manchester City's Champions League squad

MANCHESTER -- Yaya Toure will be in Manchester City's Champions League squad when the competition resumes next month but his long-term future is still uncertain.

Toure was left out of the squad for last year's group stage after manager Pep Guardiola said he would not play for the first team following controversial comments from his agent Dimitri Seluk.

But the midfielder apologised in November, returned to the side on Nov. 19 and has been a regular in the team ever since.

Guardiola said he will definitely return to his European squad ahead of the round-of-16 first leg with Monaco on Feb. 21.

"Definitely, yes. He deserves that," the City boss told a news conference ahead of Sunday's Premier League game at Everton. "In the first part of the season he was not able for many physical reasons, in the second part you know why, but of course he deserves to be in the Champions League in the second round."

Ilkay Gundogan, who is set to miss the rest of the season with a knee ligament injury, will drop out while young striker Kelechi Iheanacho will move onto the 'B' list for homegrown players under-21 after being registered with the club for two years. Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus is also expected to be included in the squad.

Guardiola said Toure would be recalled because he has the mentality for big matches.

Asked if he was surprised by Toure's form since he returned to the side, Guardiola said: "I know him better than you. I was with him in Barcelona. No [he has not been a surprise] because normally I judge the players on whether they are able to go to Old Trafford, to Anfield, to the Nou Camp, to Madrid, to Turin -- on how they are going to react. There is no doubt about Yaya on that.

"That is the most precious, valued terms to judge a player. And Yaya I know it doesn't matter where he plays. There are good players who go to the biggest stadiums for important games like a quarterfinal or a semifinal in big competitions or in the moment you can be involved to decide the Premier League how they react. And Yaya missed few times like that.

"His personality is huge in those terms, but I knew that. I knew that form Barcelona and I knew that when I started here."

Toure, along with Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Jesus Navas and Willy Caballero, are out of contract at the end of the season.

Guardiola says he has not made a decision on renewing deals but insists he has no doubts that they will give everything until the end of the season.

"We are going to talk at the end of the season," he added. "They have to play every game for himself, for their families and for the team.

"Of course we are concerned about that, but they are so, so professional. We are going to decide in the next month or the end of the season. We have to see how to develop the team until the end of the season.

"If they are angry or upset because they aren't renewing their contract they are not going to play, another guy will play.

"The four or five guys in that situation, I see them every single training session and in the games, and until now I am just glad with how they do."

All six players whose deals are running down are in their 30s while many of City's major recent signings such as Leroy Sane, Jesus, Raheem Sterling and John Stones have been relatively young.

"Last season it was the oldest team in the Premier League and this season it's one of the oldest," Guardiola added. "Most of the players make the club exactly what they are in that moment, so a huge club in the Premier League, they helped to create the next step in Europe, and made people start to talk about Manchester City in different terms to how it was in the past.

"But you cannot compete all around the world just with young players, you cannot compete just with old players. We are going to try to make a mix because the young players need time, like Leroy, like Gabriel Jesus. We are going to see how it works.

"At the end we are going to try to decide because the club is not for next season or for the next one, [it's] for the next five years, 10 years. Of course you have to change the team, it's normal. Change the players, change the managers, and the players are going to change as well."