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Tevez: set to be a distraction?

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The news that Carlos Tevez is now back in training has begun to garner the column inches as City head into their most important week for some time.

Tevez is no doubt keen to get back into the fray after his stay in Milan - a time that to the chargrin of many saw him noticably absent for the semi-final victory - possibly invigorated by the positive return that the side has made in his absence, where, for the first time since arriving at the club, his absence has been less keenly felt.

With Tevez out of action the side has been effective, if not wholly convincing, but importantly has learned to win at a crucial stage of the season. Since he was forced off during the defeat to Liverpool, City have beaten United and won against both Blackburn and West Ham in the Premier League - ensuring a trip to the FA Cup Final and near certain top four finish in the Premier League: not what was anticipated in the aftermath of the Anfield defeat where there was such concern for the loss of such an influential member of the side - in reality very much its heartbeat.

Interestingly, Roberto Mancini has named the same starting line-up in all three games - far from a regular occurrence and it does appear as though he has settled on his side for the remainder of the 2010/11 season.

As well as the side have performed without him, there can be no denying though that they are a far better and more dangerous side with Tevez present. Not just for what he brings, but also the effect he has on the rest of the team and it is noticeable that both Adam Johnson and David Silva have not been the potent forces they have been without Tevez in close proximity.

With the 'battle for fourth' not turning out to be quite the game it may well have been (assuming City don't fall into some sort of tail-spin over the next two games) the subject of Tevez will likely be the main one in the lead up to Wembley.

Mancini has said that Tevez has to play a signficant part against Tottenham (now less than a week away) for him to be considered:

"It is very difficult for him to play against Everton and if he doesn't play against Tottenham, it will be impossible for Carlos to play in the final."

Ian Ladyman tweeted that Tevez has only started light running but his expectation is that he will play. Coming off the back of a hamstring injury though, even in playing a part against Tottenham Tevez would still represent a big risk to be selected for Wembley given the unpredictability of hamstrings and the care in which players are usually eased back following injury.

The concerning issue of course though will be if he doesn't play a part before Wembley but considers himself fit, does this become a very unwanted - and public - distraction? 

What we know about Tevez is that he very much wants to be the centre of attention, the focal point of play and this was one of the issues that led to him arriving at the club in the first place. In his defence, his play and goals have afforded him this right, but we also know that when matters are not in his favour he is hardly averse to showing a very public displeasure. We also know that Mancini too can be hard-headed, stubborn and used to getting his way too.

Rumours continue to circulate over his long-term future too, with his recent trip to Milan fuelling speculation of a summer move to Inter. The club too, in signing Edin Dzeko, may have also had one eye on the future and a possible post-Tevez era and you have to wonder whether a conflict over his fitness for such an occasion could well be the 'out' that his camp are looking for. Maybe for the club too?