Often overshadowed by his combative brother Yaya, Manchester City’s Kolo Toure is relishing being back in the defensive fold for the team once again.
A calf injury to captain Vincent Kompany has seen the 31-year-old step into the heart of City’s defence in recent games.
And having helped his side to four clean sheets in as many games, the central defender is enjoying his latest playing opportunities.
“We have so many players here and it’s difficult to play every game, but you need to get ready and any time you have the chance to play give 100 per cent,” he said.
“I feel very good at the moment. I’ve had the chance recently to play more and I’m really enjoying being able to give me best for my team.
“Every time I have played for City, I just give 100 per cent – for me the main thing is just to work hard.”
The Ivory Coast man has had to bide his time this season, with his latest run in the team taking his total appearances for the campaign to just 14.
And with his contract set to expire in the summer, there had been talk of the player leaving in the summer.
But surrounded by a team of fellow Premier League champions, the former Arsenal man insisted hard work was the key for remaining in his manager’s thoughts.
“It’s always difficult when you don’t play and are not in the team, but the only thing that can keep you going is working hard and believing in yourself and that is what I have been doing,” he said.
“It’s very important to keep focused and to keep your concentration high and keep working hard in training. That’s the only thing you can do.
“Everyone around me and all my teammates have helped me a lot, and that’s very important.”
Meanwhile, the three-times FA Cup winner explained he was relishing being drawn against heavyweights Manchester United or Chelsea in the semi-finals of the competition.
“I was watching the draw on my TV and when I saw it I was like ‘wow,’ he said.
“But it is good, as a professional player we like big games and this is another one.
“These are times in life that you don’t forget, as a footballer you don’t forget and you want to play these games more and more.”
With Chelsea and Manchester United set to replay each other on Easter Monday, Toure was confident that City could beat either and make it to the final.
“Both teams are very good, they have great players, they have experienced players and world class players,” he said.
“But so do we and if we play with our strengths and we believe, we can beat any of them.”
Image courtesy of MCFC, via YouTube, with thanks