Mario Balotelli is capable of stepping up and ensuring Manchester City won’t miss disgraced star Carlos Tevez, according to midfielder Adam Johnson.
Balotelli played a key role as City romped to a 4-0 victory over a sorry Blackburn on Saturday, but much of the media attention remains focused on Tevez, who will meet club officials today to discuss his apparent refusal to take the field against Bayern Munich last Tuesday.
But while the Argentine’s career at the Etihad Stadium may be “finished” in the eyes of Roberto Mancini, Johnson believes Balotelli has all the skills to shoulder the scoring burden.
“Everyone knows what he’s like, but he’s a goalscorer,” the 24-year-old told reporters. “He’s a man who can get 20 goals a season if he plays as a central striker.
“He’s a big lad, he’s strong – he’s just got all the attributes. It’s just a case of putting it together week in, week out for him now, and he’s close to doing that.
“You look at his stats and it just proves his goal-scoring ability. If you give him a chance, he’ll put it away.
“Some people seem to think he’s a bit of a fancy player who scores a great goal now and again, but he’s more than that. He can do everything a striker needs.”
City coach David Platt also revealed his delight at the progress Balotelli has been making recently, both on and off the pitch.
“Now he has consistency day in, day out, and he is a pleasure to be around,” he said.
“For six or seven weeks there have been no problems whatsoever, either on or off the pitch.”