The former England international is among the substitutes for the Red Devils after reversing his retirement decision, while the hosts are without Yaya and Kolo Toure
David de Gea also starts on the bench for United, with Anders Lindegaard preferred in goal again, while Danny Welbeck partners Wayne Rooney in attack.
City, meanwhile, are without Yaya and Kolo Toure, who are on international duty with Ivory Coast ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations, while Mario Balotelli misses out with an ankle injury.
Joe Hart only makes the bench for Roberto Mancini's men, which means Costel Pantilimon starts, and Nigel de Jong is given the nod alongside James Milner in midfield.
Manchester City: Pantilimon; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov; De Jong, Milner; Johnson, Silva, Nasri; Aguero.
Subs: Hart, Clichy, Zabaleta, Savic, Hargreaves, Razak, Suarez.
Manchester United: Lindegaard; Smalling, Jones, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Nani; Welbeck, Rooney.
Subs: De Gea, Evans, Anderson, Park, Hernandez, Rafael, Scholes.
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