Manchester City chief Brian Marwood has hinted that Mario Balotelli is not the sort of role model the Barclays Premier League champions want people looking up to.
Balotelli has been involved in a number of well-documented incidents and controversies both on and off the pitch since joining City from Inter Milan in 2010.
The Italian has been involved in bust-ups with team-mates, threw a dart at a City youth team player and set off a firework in his own bathroom.
Asked about what kind of role model the 22-year-old Balotelli represents, chief football operations officer Marwood, quoted by several newspapers, said: “I think that it’s important to make a good example.
“I think - and we all know who we are talking about - that you will get people within the system who do not show the right values and the right behaviour.
“In the main, we have a fantastic group of players here.
“I look at Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Joe Hart, Gareth Barry, Joleon Lescott. We have a lot of players who think and behave in the right way. You have to make sure they’re the role models.’
n Former Aston Villa and West Ham captain Nigel Reo-Coker has signed for Championship strugglers Ipswich.
The 28-year-old midfielder, a free agent after leaving Bolton in the summer, has agreed a short-term contract until January.
“Ipswich is a sleeping giant in the Championship,” Reo-Coker said.
“It’s a massive club with a great history and tradition. The facilities are first class and there is a terrific fan base. It’s the right club at the right time for me and everything has just fallen into place. I had a good conversation with the manager (Paul Jewell). He’s highly respected in the game for what he has achieved and I know what he’s trying to do at the club. Ipswich may be at the wrong end of the table at the moment but it’s still early in the season and I’m sure with the manager and players the club have, it’s only a matter of time before things turn around.”