Brad Jones has revealed that Mario Balotelli used to outright refuse to contribute to defensive work in Liverpool training.
The former Reds goalkeeper revisited a moment during his Anfield days where the Italian had proved to be less than cooperative when helping defend set-pieces.
“I probably was (in goal for the own goals in training) for one or two, yeah. I remember he was going to play and we were doing set-pieces,” the Australian told the Echo.
“Brendan told him, ‘Mario, you’re going to stand here at the front post.’ Mario said, ‘No, no, no! I’m no good at that.’ Brendan was like, ‘You’re 6ft 2, you’re good at heading!’ He’s like, ‘No, no, no! I don’t like being here!’ He just didn’t want to do it, he didn’t want the responsibility.
“Brendan said, ‘Well you’re going to do it!’ So the first corner comes in, he ducks. The second corner comes in and he’s like ‘Eurgh’. And then I’m pretty sure either the third or fourth ended up being an own goal.
“It was like, ‘Okay Mario, go stand back up there. Go get away from our goal please!’”
The ex-Inter Milan hitman proved less than effective on the pitch for Brendan Rodgers’ men, registering four goals in 28 games for the club.
When looking at the sheer talent at the 31-year-old’s disposal, it’s a shame of gigantic proportions that he never truly fulfilled his potential in the game.
Of course, it was a gamble and a half to bring in Balotelli as a replacement for a world-beater in Luis Suarez who would go on to reach greater heights in Spain as far as silverware was concerned.
It seems like a million years ago that our recruitment efforts were somewhat hit and miss, with our modern approach of securing rough gems for Jurgen Klopp to mould paying dividends.