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De Jong insists Man City pal Balotelli no outcast: He is lively

Nigel de Jong insists Manchester City teammate Mario Balotelli is one of the lads.

De Jong says Balotelli can come through his problems and live up to his self-styled tag of being one of the best in the business.

De Jong said: "It's not all about Carlos Tevez.

"He is a great player for us and is the captain of the club, but we have a lot of good other players here and you can see that with Balotelli.

"I've told Mario, 'You've gotta keep smiling when you score'. Not everyone can score goals - I still haven't scored in almost two years here - so Mario needs to keep smiling when he manages it.

"He's a lively guy. Sometimes his body language is not what you would want to have on the pitch, but he is a winner and he always wants to win and score. He is quite critical about himself. If he loses the ball or doesn't score a great opportunity, he criticises himself.

"But he is a top bloke and, at 20, he is still very young. We are all there to help him to settle in, though.

"He's not a loner at all. Everybody is with him and tries to help him because he is still a young lad. He has learned a lot in the last couple of months.

"He is prepared to work hard for the team and he knows what to do to be successful."

 It's all kicking off again! Click here for the No1 coverage of Manchester City's winter market transfer news.

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