Arsenal legend Ian Wright isn’t convinced that Mario Balotelli will make the required changes to his attitude to prove a success at Liverpool.
Balotelli, 24, has scored just one goal in eight games since a £16 million summer move from AC Milan, failing to impress when leading the line in Daniel Sturridge’s absence.
Overlooked in favour of a first Premier League start for Rickie Lambert for the weekend’s 2-1 home win over West Bromwich Albion, Wright believes the forward has shown few signs of a reformed character since returning to England and is concerned his poor form is going to hurt Liverpool in the long run.
‘When you look at the facts and the clubs he’s been at and manager he’s been under, I said it’s not a chance I’d have taken, simply because I can’t understand what is going to make him all of a sudden change the way he’s played,’ he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
‘I can see why Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers took a chance on him, because they did handle Suarez pretty well, but at some stage Mario as to say to himself, “I’ve got to let people know that I’m ready to get on with my career.”
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‘It’s only going to come down to him,' he added. 'It’s up to him to prove to people that his ability’s not just a myth.
‘I watched a couple of games of him at the 2012 Euros and thought “wow, what a great player”, but you do not see it regularly enough from Balotelli, where he turns it on for three or four games on the spin.
‘He doesn’t hold the ball up particularly well, some of the runs he makes aren’t great, and just things like that are why you worry.
‘He falls over a lot, he gets a bit sulky, and you just don’t see him focusing 100% on his game enough to cause a problem in the opponent's defence.’