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Yaya Toure could be offered Man City future by Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola has praised Yaya Toure for his impact at Manchester City since returning to the side.

Yaya Toure is back from the wilderness at Manchester City after apologising for his agent's comments.

He's now in favour and although his future is uncertain with his contract expiring at the end of the season, he could yet earn a new deal. Here's why ...

1. He's still got it

Toure has been one of the most influential players in the six weeks since his two goals on his return in a 2-1 win against Crystal Palace on Nov.19.

No City player has scored more goals in the 12 games since his comeback, with only Sergio Aguero matching his four strikes -- although the Argentinean was banned for four games during that time.

Only Fernandinho (69) of his fellow midfielders averages more than Toure's 59.2 passes per game -- a key statistic considering manager Pep Guardiola's desire to maintain possession.

He is only behind the creative playmakers of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva for average through balls per match while the number of tackles per game (1.4) is only fewer than Fernandinho (2.2) and Fernando (1.8) for midfielders.

But possibly the most important statistic is that City have won eight of the nine games he has played this season -- with the 1-0 defeat to Liverpool on Dec. 31 the only time he has been on the losing side.

2. Experience is vital

Guardiola admits he is still adapting to life in the Premier League and having experienced players like Toure around can only help him to acclimatise in England.

The first team squad is undergoing a youthful overhaul with Raheem Sterling, John Stones, Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane the future.

But that plan will take time and Toure, with 279 appearances in seven seasons at City, can help them integrate.

He has already shown to be a big influence to younger players in the squad, helping Kelechi Iheanacho progress from City's youth team to becoming a regular in the first-team squad.

Pep Guardiola has ended Yaya Toure's Manchester City exile.

3. Best behaviour

Toure is clearly enjoying his second chance after his City career seemed to be over.

"I look like a kid, just enjoying football and helping my teammates," he said after the 3-0 win at Hull on Dec. 26.

Seemingly gone are the potential rows with Guardiola with Toure describing him as "a very intelligent guy," after the 2-1 win over Arsenal on Dec. 18.

Agent Dimitri Seluk is now in the background following a string of controversial moments throughout his time at the Etihad ranging from the infamous fallout over his client's birthday to the various claims Toure was set to leave.

4. Popular with teammates

Toure commands enormous respect in a dressing room full of international stars. Even throughout his three-month exile, he continued to train with the first team without any problems.

And his colleagues were delighted when he finally returned, giving him a standing ovation when he came back to the dressing room after the victory at Selhurst Park.

"It was fantastic because these guys have always been there for me. I was always focused," he said after the game.

Unity can be crucial when challenging for silverware and Toure carries the sort of influence that can keep a side together.

Yaya Toure scored two goals in a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace to mark his return to favour.

5. Popular with fans

Not only his Toure popular with his teammates, he's also a firm favourite with supporters, who are delighted to see him back.

The midfielder has been instrumental in City's success in recent years, scoring crucial goals at Wembley in victories over Manchester United, Stoke City and Sunderland and numerous matchwinning performances on the way to two Premier League titles.

Guardiola's decision to axe England keeper Joe Hart has not been a popular one, but the Catalan's U-turn on Toure has shown he is not afraid to change his mind.

Extending his contract would no-doubt be welcomed by a majority of City supporters -- many of whom regard the midfielder as the greatest player to ever wear the shirt.

Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.

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