x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Milner hopes his Manchester City teammate Mario Balotelli will be wiser

James Milner hopes Mario Balotelli can learn from the showboating incident that drew the ire of his Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini.

Mario Balotelli, right, is given advice by Nigel de Jong during Manchester City's friendly with Los Angeles Galaxy. The Italian was later substituted by manager Roberto Mancini for showboating.
Mario Balotelli, right, is given advice by Nigel de Jong during Manchester City's friendly with Los Angeles Galaxy. The Italian was later substituted by manager Roberto Mancini for showboating.

James Milner hopes his Manchester City teammate Mario Balotelli will emerge wiser from his latest brush with controversy.

Balotelli was warned about his future behaviour by Roberto Mancini after the City manager hauled the striker off for showboating in a friendly with Los Angeles Galaxy in California on Sunday night.

The 20 year old had already put City ahead with a penalty when the bizarre incident occurred around the half-hour mark.

Balotelli was sent clear of the home defence, but instead of attempting to score normally, he tried a complicated pivot and back-heel which resulted in the ball rolling wide.

Mancini was clearly furious and substituted Balotelli moments later. "I hope this is a lesson for him,'' Mancini said after the match, which City won 7-6 on penalties after it ended 1-1 in normal time. "In football you always need to be professional, always serious and in this moment he wasn't professional."

Milner, the midfielder who came on for Balotelli, had similar thoughts. "I think he has shown since he has been here that he has got great potential, but he is still young and still learning," Milner told Sky Sports News. "Hopefully he will get better and maybe learn from these sorts of experiences."

Milner would not be drawn on whether he felt Balotelli's actions had been disrespectful, but said: "Obviously we'd like him to put that in the back of the net, but Mario is Mario and he does some strange things sometimes."

Mancini was keen to draw a line under the episode and it seems there will be no further action against Balotelli, who has often courted controversy since joining City from Inter Milan last summer.

He was sent off at West Bromwich Albion in November and received another red card against Dynamo Kiev, which Mancini branded as "stupid''.

The player raised further eyebrows when he accepted the Golden Boy award and said of the previous winners that the only one who was a "little bit'' better than him was Lionel Messi.

He did not turn up for an end-of-season trophy parade - even though he was named man-of-the-match as City defeated Stoke City in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

Sunday's indiscretion comes at a time when City have an unhappy roster of forwards. The future of Carlos Tevez is uncertain and the club's' relations with Emmanuel Adebayor and Craig Bellamy appear to be at an all-time low.

Mancini should soon have more options in attack, though, with City looking to swiftly tie up a deal for Sergio Aguero. When asked about Aguero in his post-match press conference, Mancini said: "I know the club are talking with Atletico Madrid. I don't know the situation at the moment, but I hope that we can close it in maybe four or five days, or seven days.