Man City transfers: Balotelli must earn his place, says Mancini
Man City transfers: Roberto Mancini says Mario Balotelli must earn his first-team place amid reports of a return to Italy for the striker
Roberto Mancini has insisted Mario Balotelli still has a future at Manchester City, urging the Italian striker to earn his first-team place.
The 22-year-old has not started for the Citizens since their 3-2 loss to Premier League leaders Manchester United in early December, making a brief substitute appearance at Arsenal.
Balotelli’s future at the defending champions has been a source of constant speculation this season, with the Italian playing a bit-part role in City’s campaign.
The former Internazionale man was pictured clashing with Mancini at the club’s training ground earlier in January but the Citizens manager was quick to play down the incident.
And Mancini is adamant Balotelli still has a role to play at the Eastlands outfit, despite reports linking the controversial striker with a move to AC Milan.
“First of all Mario should work well and try to get his place in the team,” said Mancini.
“At the moment he doesn’t have that, for many reasons. I hope he can help us to win some trophies because he has quality.”
He added: “Until today, his performances were so-so. But at the same time he can improve.
“Maybe in the next four months we could have crucial games for Premier League, FA Cup. I hope Mario can help the team to win games.”