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Balotelli the key for Italian job

Mario set for increased responsibility

By | 10th November 2011

Mario Balotelli has been in scintillating form for leaders Manchester City in this season’s Premier League, with 5 goals already to his name after just 7 appearances, and a goal each in the Champions League and the Carling Cup as well.

The 21 year old ‘s brace against Manchester United, which capped of a brilliant all-around performance from him, is a sign that he is capable of competing and dominating at the very highest level.

With his club form firmly among the best of any Italian player, Cesare Prandelli should look no further than the Etihad Stadium when searching for a new goal threat after the loss of Giuseppe Rossi to injury and Antonio Cassano to a serious health problem.

The pair have featured a lot for the Azzurri recently, with good results, but in light of their absence a rethink must be done by the manager.

Balotelli has appeared just 5 times for Italy to date, after turning down a call-up from Ghana while he was still just 16.

Previous manager Marcelo Lippi refused to bring him into the team. It was Prandelli, not Lippi, who first called up Balotelli to the senior side, and since taking over as manager he has given the striker a few chances here and there.

But with two important forwards gone, it seems that the former Inter star has a real chance to not only figure into the Italy side for Euro 2012, but perhaps even stake his claim for a starting place for years to come.

In contrast to last season, Balotelli has been used frequently this year by Roberto Mancini, and with City atop the Premier League table it seems that this will not change.

His manager, who has criticized him for perceived childish antics in the past, now has full faith that his number 45 is mentally stable and able to be a core component of his side’s push for the title and other trophies.

Giampaolo Pazzini of Inter and the highly impressive Alessandro Matri of Juventus will surely be given the opportunity, in the coming months, to prove their own worthiness of a bigger role in the side, but Balotelli looks primed to show the world why he is not only one of the most publicized players, but also one of the best.

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