Manuel Pellegrini has said that James Milner remains a very important part of the Manchester City squad.
Milner has publicly stated his desire to receive more regular first-team opportunities this season and was linked with a move away from the Etihad Stadium over the summer, with Everton reportedly interested.
However, after no move materialised, Pellegrini has moved to quash any reports of an impending exit by saying that Milner remains part of his plans.
"What James Milner said is what every footballer will say," Pellegrini said to City's official website. "Every player wants to play more games. James is very important player for our squad. He knows exactly what I think about that.
"I don’t think we will have any problem with him because he is always involved. Maybe sometimes he will start games from the beginning or as a substitute but he is always playing."
Milner has found chances at City become limited as their cravings for big-name additions has continued over recent seasons.
Despite being a solid and consistent performer for the side, he is not the most exciting of players and that has harmed his chances.
This season, though, Milner has actually got his wish of being exposed to regular first-team action and has been one of the club's better performers so far.
The England international has played eight times already this campaign, and he will be hoping to continue to show he is ready to play a big part for the Premier League champions as the season progresses.
So far City have fallen short of the standards they have set over the past few years, but they will be expected to improve soon and Pellegrini's men will surely be competing for honours in May.
Milner will hope that he is able to play a crucial role in that success and will be looking to impress this weekend to consolidate his place in the line-up.
The Citizens take on Hull City in a game which they will be expecting to win, as they look to make up the ground Chelsea have already gained on them.