Mario Balotelli is homesick, admits Roberto Mancini
Manchester City manager says 20-year-old striker misses Italy but expects him to stay at Eastlands
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini admits Italy international Mario Balotelli is unhappy with life in England.
Balotelli, 20, hit an impressive hat-trick in his side’s 4-0 victory over Aston Villa on Tuesday to help City temporarily move to the summit of the Premier League table. It came just hours after the English media revealed Balotelli’s desire to return to his homeland after only six months at Eastlands.
The Sun had earlier claimed that the former Inter Milan forward had failed to strike up any friendships with his new team-mates, but despite admitting Balotelli is unsettled in England, Mancini believes the combustive youngster will stay with Manchester City.
“He is homesick,” Mancini conceded. “He’s 20 years old, it’s the first time he has been away from his family and it’s normal that he misses his family.
“After the first goal he celebrated – that’s the first step forward – but the more important thing is he scored three goals. He is a good guy. He is not like he appears on the pitch.
“He likes to give this image, this impression, that he’s hard, serious and doesn’t like to play. But he is a different guy off the pitch.
“One has to understand this country and this football before he can give his best. Silva has managed it, and now he’s playing great. Mario is working on it, and knows he has to do more for himself as well as for the team.”
The Manchester City boss added: “When he has grasped this, and starts to make use of his qualities, he will become an important player for us. He’s a player who can make the difference in any game, for any team.”
Balotelli has scored eight times in 11 appearances since joining City since joining from Inter for £24m this summer.
The Italy international was last week awarded the Golden Boy trophy – the award organised by Turin newspaper Tuttosport and voted for by European journalists to honour the most talented footballer under the age of 21.