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MANCHESTER CITY midfielder Joey Barton has revealed he was rejected as a youngster at Nottingham Forest.
The youngster, who earned his second England Under-21 cap and scored in the 2-1 defeat to Portugal's Under-21s, was told he was not good enough.
Barton's recent rise to prominence at City has prompted the Premiership outfit to offer him a lucrative new two-year contract.
Despite the blow of not making it at the City Ground, some words of advice from his mother helped him recover from the disappointment.
"Forest regarded me as too small and that I wasn't good enough," explained Barton. "I didn't see that.
"The rejection hurt a lot, but my mum said to me 'Don't let anyone bring you down'.
"So I got my head down; I just wouldn't give up."
"It's getting tickly now - squeaky-bum time, I call it."
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Man City enter their first game of 2013 against Stoke with the aim of slicing Man United's seven-point lead at the top.
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini reiterated the importance of his rotation policy after victory over Norwich.
Edin Dzeko is hoping his exploits in the 4-3 win at Norwich will be enough to earn him a starting place against Stoke.
Anthony Pilkington has questioned whether Samir Nasri would have squared-off against Sebastien Bassong off the field.
Edin Dzeko scored twice as 10-man Manchester City held on for a thrilling 4-3 win over battling Norwich on Saturday.