Kolo Toure: Balotelli has 'always been a good boy'

Toure has previously played with Balotelli at Manchester City and knows him better than most of the Liverpool players.

Liverpool defender Kolo Toure has said that people have got the wrong idea about striker Mario Balotelli and that he's 'always been a good boy'.

Toure previously worked with Balotelli at Manchester City - where the Italian became more famous for his antics off the field rather than on it, including training ground bust-ups with Roberto Mancini and letting off fireworks in his own home.

The experienced defender, however, has a different opinion of the Italian, telling the Liverpool Echo: “I think some people have got the wrong idea about Mario. At City, he was young. And when you are young, you make some mistakes. Everyone does.

“He had a hard childhood but now he’s more mature. He knows what he’s doing. He knows he needs to work hard.

“For me he’s always been a good boy but now I think he’s more mature, more intelligent.

“He loves football and we are really happy to have him. With experience you become better. That’s what we’ll see from Mario.”

The £16 million arrival from Milan came with the reputation of a player that has caused trouble wherever he has been, and at the age of 24 it may have been his last opportunity to prove himself at the highest level.

So far, many images from the side's training sessions and the way he fit into the side in Sunday's 3-0 win over Tottenham suggest everything is going well for the Italian. He seems to have warmed to his team-mates, and they have warmed to him.

Toure also picked up on his behaviour on the pitch, saying: "He’s more mature now. You can see that with his behaviour on the pitch – chasing the ball and fighting for the team.

“Mario is a great player and we’re all happy to have him here.

“He can help make the difference this season in a team with many great young players."

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