Roberto Mancini believes Carlos Tevez 'deserves to play' for Manchester City again after admitting the striker has been 'perfect' since returning to training.
Tevez's City career appeared to be over after he refused to warm-up during the UEFA Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich in September and his subsequent unauthorised return to his native Argentina.
However, after failing to secure a transfer during the January window, the 28-year-old came back to City last month following an apology for his conduct.
He has been building up his fitness and is expected to take up a place on the substitutes' bench when City entertain Chelsea on Wednesday evening.
The former Manchester United forward's comeback is also being pinpointed as a potentially decisive move in City's bid to overhaul their rivals in the race for the Premier League title.
Mancini thinks Tevez is ready to play first-team football again and he is confident his former captain can boost City's title challenge.
"What happened with Carlo six months ago is in the past," said Mancini. "Carlo is part of our plans for the last two months, he is a City player.
"I think Carlo in this moment wants to play football. He needs to play football, for him and for his future. He wants to play.
"I can see in training he is perfect, better than last year. He wants to play and deserves to play and help the team.
"I have always thought Carlo is a top player, even when we had the problem."