By David McDonnell

Roberto Mancini has called on Mario Balotelli to build on his impressive Euro 2012 displays next season and prove he is a changed man.

Man City boss Mancini warns Balotelli: Don't slip back into your bad old ways this seaso

Balotelli played with discipline and maturity on Italy’s march to the Euro 2012, scoring twice before they were humbled 4-0 by Spain in the final.

It was a far cry from the Balotelli of last season who was mired in controversy on and off the pitch for Manchester City, earning two red cards and missing 11 games through suspension.

But City boss Mancini said there were signs at Euro 2012 that Balotelli was growing up and he urged his fellow Italian not to be a liability any more by lapsing into his bad old ways.

“I think that Mario did well in the Euros,” said Mancini, speaking from City’s Kuala Lumpur hotel on the club’s pre-season tour of the Far East.

“I think he played well and I hope those performances for Italy can help him to improve.

“Mario is one of the best strikers in Italy because we don’t have, at the moment, another striker like him.

“I think that every time he plays well, like he did at the Euros, it’s important for him because it can help him with his behaviour.

“Then hopefully he can understand that, if he improves his behaviour, he can be better at his job.

“With the national team he is an important player, but for us also he’s also an important player.

“We spent a lot of money on him, he’s young and I think he can have a big future at Manchester City.

“It all depends on him, if he continues [to mature] in this way. He has everything.

“If he understands he can’t do what he did last season against Arsenal and Tottenham [sent off in both games] and thinks only to play football, he can do really well.”

Although Balotelli thrived on being Italy’s main striker at Euro 2012, Mancini said the 21-year-old’s versatility meant he may not always play in his favoured role for City.

“Mario is lucky because he is young and with his body and his attitude, he can play as a forward or like a winger,” said Mancini.

“So I think he can play in every position. Maybe, for me though, he is better like a first striker.

“He’s played in that position a lot of times. Sometimes we play with him in front and Yaya Toure behind, like we did last season.

“With Sergio Aguero it’s different, because he likes to play nearer the penalty box. We have four strikers and, of these four strikers, only Mario can play wide.”