‘I’m keeping an eye on him’ – Coach’s thoughts on Liverpool player

Mario Balotelli Italy

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli is still in the mind of his international coach despite his prolonged poor spell.

Italy boss Antonio Conte has been speaking about the likelihood of Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli regaining his place in the national side.

Balotelli was left out of Conte’s first two international squads and he looks no closer to winning a call-up given his poor form for the Reds.

The £16million summer signing has scored just two goals for Brendan Rodgers side despite playing 888 minutes of club football this season.

In contrast, fellow Italian striker Graziano Pelle has netted nine since his move to Southampton, and the 29-year-old has rightfully taken Balotelli’s place for the Azzurri. But Conte has admitted that he will continue to monitor Balotelli in the weeks and months ahead.

In comments published by Goal.com, the former Juventus boss said, “Balotelli has started a new career in England and it’s not easy. Let’s give him time to settle into a new league with Liverpool.

“I’m keeping an eye on him, just as I’m doing with all the players who are abroad.”

Balotelli has been dubbed in some quarters as a flop considering his poor form and erratic shooting, but Conte is wise to suggest that the player needs time to settle at Anfield, especially when you consider the added pressure of replacing the departed Luis Suarez and the injured Daniel Sturridge.

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