He told talkSPORT: “There are times, especially when I watched the Euros in the summer and I watched him play and I thought, ‘my God this guy has it now, he’s going to set us all alight’, and then he came back and put his hands on his hips for most of the games that I saw him play early on in the season.
“Frustrating is being kind to him. I just wish someone somewhere would be able to get into him and say, ‘[you have] all your ability, all that skill and strength to offer but [you need] to do it and to be active when doing it’.
“I looked at Luis Suarez the other day, he had one of those games where he tried his hardest for 90 minutes, he scored a wonder goal, he gave everything to his team every time the ball came near him and off the ball he closed down.
“If you could get a bit of that Suarez industry and that work rate [in Balotelli] you’d have a top player, but it doesn’t seem to happen.
“He’s high maintenance. That’s the phrase that I would use and we know he’s got the ability to score great goals, we know he can change things in a flash but when everyone is at fever pitch and on tenterhooks, really pushing and then you see a team-mate of yours with their hands on their hips it actually hurts the entire team.
“It’s not just the manager getting frustrated. Whatever team you play on, if you have one player not carrying their weight, no matter how good or brilliant they can be on the day, it causes friction.
“It’s a real rocky ride with Balotelli and you really have to question if it’s worth it, Mancini seems to think so, and my hope would be that the penny will drop with him and that he’d understand work rate and the shift that you have to put in.”