By Chris Myson
Like all top club managers, Roberto Mancini will have been keeping a close eye on Euro 2012 as it unfolded, not just to view potential transfer targets but also to assess the form of his own players.
Manchester City had eight internationals involved in Poland and Ukraine and the players enjoyed mixed levels of individual and team success.
On the whole, the Premier League champions will get their players back either in good form or with a point to prove - something which should not be considered a negative – and a key plus point for Mancini will be that none of his players picked up serious injuries during the tournament.
Mario Balotelli is never far from the spotlight, but in the Euros he was talked about for all the right reasons. A match-winning double against Germany in the semi-final typified what was an impressive month for the striker, as he led the line with strength and maturity.
On the back of a campaign where he showed flashes of brilliance but failed to shrug off his inconsistencies at club level, he will attack the new campaign with confidence and may have done enough to prove Mancini does not need to spend big on a new frontman before the new season gets under way.
Goal.com's Italian expert Carlo Garganese believes 2012-13 can be a year when Balotelli scores heavily in England as City look to defend their title.
He said: “Balotelli established himself as a true world-beater in the victory over Germany. The superlatives ran dry for the 21-year-old following this stunning display, and although Italy's campaign ended with a humiliating defeat to Spain, the tournament will go down as a big success for him.
“Although there is a long way to go until Balotelli fully matures as a person and footballer, the forward answered all his critics who questioned whether he had the ability and temperament to make an impact at the very highest level.
While things were bright for Balotelli, Samir Nasri endured a tournament to forget. It had all started so promisingly when he scored against England in France’s opening game, but from there his influence on the pitch waned.
He was involved in a bust-up with Alou Diarra, which cost him his place in the starting line-up for the quarter-final against Spain, and then his already frosty relationship with his country’s press took a turn for the worse when he swore at journalists after that tie ended in defeat.
“Nasri has never been popular with the French media but a promising build-up to the competition suggested that he was perhaps turning a corner,” explained Goal.com International's French football editor Robin Bairner.
“It was not to be, though, and there has since been talk of a two-year ban - a national team record. Whatever action is taken, Nasri will never be seen as a role model for France, and it's possible his international career may even be over.”
His problems at the Euros come after a year when he only performed well in patches, which means he goes into the new campaign under pressure and with a point to prove.
His France team-mate, Gael Clichy, had a more solid tournament, displacing Patrice Evra as the first-choice at left-back as he continues to mature as a top-level defender.
City’s England contingent leave the tournament with their reputations intact. Joe Hart and particularly Joleon Lescott played their part in what was an organised and disciplined side.
While the Three Lions were solid, they did lack flair and many observers felt James Milner’s performances on the wing contributed to that lack of flamboyancy going forward. The ex-Aston Villa man struggled for regular action at club level last season and no doubt has his work cut out with the quality competition for places.
Nigel de Jong was part of the Netherlands team which self-destructed in the group stages, although while he will not come back to the club full of confidence, he will at least be fresh. His City future remains uncertain, in any case.
That just leaves David Silva, who played a key part in the history-making Spain side that secured a third successive major tournament with victory over Italy in the final.
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City will welcome back a star who has experienced unbridled success in 2012, and will be desperate to replicate his national form in next season's Champions League - the trophy the Eastlands outfit will now want most.
The Euros could have been better for some of the club’s players, but they certainly could have been an awful lot worse too, so Mancini will be quite content as he launches an assault on all fronts when the new begins.
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