Hit the showers, kid; you're cut. Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

Balotelli's Euro 2012 prospects take nosedive

Cesare Prandelli, coach of the Italian national side, is reluctant to select City striker Mario Balotelli for this summer’s European Championships.

IN WHAT CAN only be considered a welcome development from an Irish perspective, coach Cesare Prandelli has omitted Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli from the Italian national squad to face the United States on Wednesday.

The  21-year-old, whose considerable promise is matched by his on-field volatility, has accumulated a number of lengthy suspensions in recent seasons, the latest of which was imposed following a controversial stamp on Tottenham Hotspur captain Scott Parker last month.

In the eyes of Prandelli, an elder statesman of Italian football for whom restraint and organisation remain sacred, Balotelli’s indiscipline makes him a liability.

Speaking to the Press Association, the manager suggested he would be unwilling to include the striker – who he termed “agitated” – in his squad for this summer’s European Championships, where Italy are scheduled to meet Ireland in the group stages:

“When I say we have to reach the European Championship prepared, I mean I don’t want to see players who, at the first sign of difficulty, commit reaction fouls and get sent off, leaving their team-mates to struggle with 10 men.”

Taking Balotelli’s place in the squad is 20-year-old Fabio Borini, formerly of Chelsea. The youngster has impressed for Roma this season, scoring seven goals in 15 appearances.

Read more on this story from the Guardian

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