• Premier League

Barry: Mario's going nowhere

ESPN staff
November 30, 2012 « Parker closing on Tottenham return | Chartbeat test »
Balotelli celebrates scoring his first league goal of the season on Wednesday © Getty Images
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Mario Balotelli has no obvious reason to leave Manchester City in January according to teammate Gareth Barry, who is backing the Italian to return to regular scoring ways.

Balotelli scored his first goal in this season's Premier League on Wednesday with a 69th-minute strike in a 2-0 victory for the champions at Wigan.

The match was the Italian's first start in six matches after he was dropped by Roberto Mancini at the beginning of the month, and then suffered a back injury.

But Barry, who arrived at City in 2009 from Aston Villa, believes the striker will start to regularly find the net again.

However, the Englishman also insisted that Balotelli's willingness to stay at the City of Manchester Stadium is not goals dependent and he will still be a Blue come February next year.

"I think he is happy," Barry said. "If you see him day to day then you'd see no reason for him not to be.

"Obviously he has probably not played as much as he would have liked but he has kept his head as well as anyone else who isn't getting chances.

"He scored some massive goals last season and if he can repeat that this season it'll be good for us.

"Any striker's first league goal is going to be massive in a season. To be fair to Mario, he has not had loads of chances. When you do get them you need to score them.

"He has taken a chance with his start (against Wigan). It could be good for Mario. Hopefully he can go on a run now."

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