Former Liverpool forward Emile Heskey told talkSPORT that Liverpool players will most likely be frustrated with Mario Balotelli’s effort, or lack of it, rather than his ability.
The former England striker defended the Italian by explaining he was given big boots to fill, following the exit of Luis Suarez, and hasn’t been given an easy ride by critics.
‘’It’s been difficult for Mario,’’ explained Heskey. ‘’He has come into a situation where all the limelight is on him.
‘’He likes the limelight, don’t get me wrong, but you’re talking about a prolific goalscorer like Suarez. Not just a goalscorer – a performer. A guy that goes out there and wants to perform for the fans.
‘’He has found it difficult to live up to the hype Suarez had.’’
On the possible frustration of his teammates, Heskey added: ‘’I think the frustration would be that they know he can be giving a lot more. I think that will be the frustration, rather than the frustration of him not being good enough.
‘’It’s the frustration that he hasn’t produced what he have.’’
Is Balotelli lacking in effort or quality?
When a player isn’t good enough, it’s easy to take him out of the team and eventually sell them.
If a player isn’t at the required standard then it makes the job for the manager somewhat easier as it draws a line under what he can and can’t achieve.
When a player is good enough but lacking effort, it’s then that a manager and players should vent their frustration as it’s something that can easily be changed.
In Balotelli’s case, it could be a bit of both.
There can be little doubt that the Italian international, at one point in time, was one of the most promising young players in the world. However, after several years of disappointment, it’s hard to suggest that his struggles are merely down to a lack of effort.
Although it’s said he does produce moments of magic, the reality is that he has shown far fewer ‘moments of magic’ than former non-league forward Charlie Austin has this season, which fairer reflects where he is currently at.
He shouldn't be considered a diamond in the rough anymore as the last three seasons have shown him to be a below par Premier League forward dining out on former glories.