Joleon Lescott has revealed his frustration at not being "given a fair opportunity" to prove himself by Manuel Pellegrini. The defender claims he is receiving differing treatment to other members of the Manchester City squad and would consider a transfer in January.
Lescott, who is 31 and in the final season of his contract, said that he is yet to be approached regarding new terms. He featured in Wednesday's 4-2 Champions League win over Viktoria Plzen but only because Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic were not fit. Lescott has managed only nine appearances this season and remains the fourth choice centre-back under Pellegrini after falling down the pecking order towards the end of Roberto Mancini's tenure as manager.
Having also lost his place in Roy Hodgson's England squad in a season that ends with the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil, Lescott is considering his options. He said: "I need to be given a fair opportunity. I know no one can guarantee me playing every week but I would like to think that given a fair opportunity to play, if I am playing in the team I can do well enough to stay in the team.
"If you start to doubt yourself it will affect you so I try not to doubt myself and believe I can perform. When the opportunities come you have to grab them and if it means playing the next few games when Matija is out and Vinny is not ready, then great for me. Hopefully once again I can prove to the club, and if it is not here somewhere else, that I am worthy of a new contract."
Lescott believes Pellegrini is not allowing him the same chance as others. "I just want to be treated like everyone else. If I am in the team and the team is winning I stay in the team," he said. "Realistically there is probably only one place up for grabs when Vinny is fit and three of us are fighting for that. I have not played as much as I would have liked this season but I would like to think [against Plzen] I have done a good enough job to prove I can perform at this level."
Lescott's status at the club has plummeted since he was first-choice in City's title-winning campaign of two seasons ago and he would consider a fresh start elsewhere in the winter transfer window. "It is hard not playing. No professional enjoys it and I am no different," the former Everton defender said. "It is not great not playing in the last year of my contract. The situation is not ideal but I just have to try to play well when I am given the opportunity. We all train through the week to play and then when you are not it is disheartening.
"I want to stay, that is the main thing but the club have not approached me yet, so I don't know what the situation is with them. If I am playing for my future here, then great. If I am playing for it elsewhere, then so be it. I just know that every time I am out there I have to perform at a level were top clubs would be interested in signing me.
"It depends what the club wants and what opportunities there are for me. I am not just going to leave a club like this for the sake of it, but at the end of the season I would have to. So nothing can happen now. I can't speak to any clubs and no clubs can approach me but when that opportunity comes, if it does come in January, I will have to look at that.
"I have not really focused on anything but if a team abroad was giving me a fair opportunity to play and progress, then I would look at it. If you are not playing for Man City, it does not make you a bad player."
Regarding his prospects of making Hodgson's squad for Brazil, he said: "It does not look like I am going at the minute. I have not been in the last few squads, so it is going to be hard but if I am playing for City and we are progressing in the Champions League and the title race, then there might be a place for me.
"I have not given up. But I know that comes from playing for Man City, so the faster I can get myself back in City the better."