Manchester City midfielder James Milner has characterised his club team mate Mario Balotelli as having two faces - a hard-working and talented one and an immature and controversial one. It is the latter that pops up all too often and has led to several disciplinary issues in the 21 year old striker's career to date. In fact, the Italian striker has been warned to be on his best behaviour when Italy take on England in the fourth quarterfinal on 25 June.
"There are two Marios. There is one who turns up sometimes in training and it is a bit cold and he is not too interested. The other time he really wants it, as I'm sure he will against England, and he is a special talent. He is a top player and we know that. I'm sure he will be at the top of his game," said Milner, according to ESPN.
The youngster spent much of last season in the press for all the wrong reasons and has further enhanced an already well-developed reputation for poor behaviour, both on and off the field, during his time in England. However, ahead of the game against Italy, Milner feels Balotelli will bring the more talented face to the party.
"We've seen Mario, he is a different player, he's going to cause you problems. He is very strong, shooting-wise he can cause problems, he is tricky, a clever player as well," the Daily Star quoted Milner as saying.
Although Balotelli was not selected for his country's final group game - against the Republic of Ireland - he could start the England tie since he did score an impressive goal after coming on as a substitute against the Irish.
Despite Milner's praise, Balotelli's conduct is still a problem. Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi believes it creates headaches for Italy boss Cesare Prandelli.
"If Balotelli wants to grow, he must learn how to react to provocation and situations that he finds difficult. There is a lot of talk and scandal around him because he's young, strong-headed, plays for a big club and has a lot of talent. But he is used to these scandals. He makes mistakes on and off the pitch. And it is his responsibility to rectify them," said de Rossi, according to a report in The Sun.