Roberto Mancini more valuable to Manchester City than Mario Balotelli, says Ray Wilkins
Ray Wilkins told The FF Show that Roberto Mancini will out-last Mario Balotelli at Manchester City.
Last Updated: 04/01/13 9:14am
The Italian forward has established himself as a fans' favourite at the Etihad Stadium, but attracted negative headlines on Thursday when he was photographed in an apparent training ground bust-up with his manager during a training session.
The duo reportedly had to be separated by other members of City's coaching staff and the incident has cast more doubt on the future of Balotelli, who has been linked with a return to Italy in recent months.
Mancini's position has also been questioned following the club's Champions League group stage exit, but former Chelsea assistant boss Wilkins believes the manager is more valuable to the club than the player.
"I think Mancini will definitely be there," he told The Footballers' Football Show.
"I think Sheikh Mansour likes Balotelli, but I'm sure he likes Mancini as well because he's done a great job for Manchester City.
"It's very difficult to control all the egos that Roberto has there at the club, but I think he's done a wonderful job. They are the champions and they're still there in second place and there's no reason why they shouldn't do extremely well this year.
"Balotelli has been a little bit of a disturbance. Everything you see with the wrong things with Manchester City, it always seems to be Balotelli at the helm of it.
"Unfortunately that's what this young man brings. He's very talented, but if it's interrupting and upsetting the squad of players then it's best if Balotelli was to leave and keep Mancini."
Balotelli has been involved in a string of controversies since his arrival in England, but Wilkins believes the latest incident is not one to be too concerned about.
He says spats are commonplace on professional football training pitches and feels Manchester City are unfortunate that long-lens photographers can peer into their Carrington base.
He said: "These cameras now get you from five miles away; they don't have to actually be over the top of the fence! These guys are from long distances taking these photos.
"These things happen on training grounds and you just have to accept that.
"They are a successful club and you've got to have a bit of passion in there to win. If it erupts sometimes - and it can erupt in every training session you have - let it erupt.
"So long as it's quelled and you get on with the job in hand then it's all done and dusted and we can carry on."