Monday 27 February 2017

Mancini laments frustrating English drinking culture

Henry winter

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has spoken to his young England internationals about their off-field behaviour and refuses to accept the drinking culture he feels is still prevalent in the Premiership.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart was pictured dancing on a bar in Puerto Banus last week before joining up with the national squad, while Mancini has also spoken to Adam Johnson.

Mancini, who was first baffled by English attitudes to alcohol during an afternoon in the pub in his short spell with Leicester nine years ago, thinks that City's youngsters have to restrain themselves or risk having their careers curtailed.

He cites the longevity of his former team-mate Pietro Vierchowod, who played until he was 41, and Javier Zanetti, still playing for Inter Milan at 37, as examples of where the right approach to life can lead for young players.

"For a young player it is important to always behave," Mancini said. "I can understand sometimes things can happen on holiday. I have spoken to them. It is private, but it is better they go with a woman than a drink.

"In Italy, the players don't have the culture of drinking after the game. It is different. I understand it is not easy to change the English way. But Johnson and Joe are young, they play in the national team and they must change.

"For me, it is frustrating. I don't understand why a player must drink after the game. One drink is okay, but three, four, five, six until they are drunk, this is not good. I think it is better if the players can change their drinking because it's not good for their careers.

"When you get to 28, 29, you pay the price. I played in Italy with Pietro Vierchowod who was able to play at 100 per cent until he was 40 and Zanetti is still Inter's best player every week because he has always looked after himself."

While Mancini continues to battle against the issues that come with having an expensive squad of well-paid players, his Blackpool counterpart Ian Holloway maintains he is happy to have none of those issues.

On £12,000 a week, Charlie Adam earns £208,000 a week less than City's best-paid player, Yaya Toure, and Holloway claims that putting together a group of players on big money so quickly is bound to throw up difficulties.

He also believes it would be wrong to blame Mancini for dressing-room problems. "I've got none of that pressure on me and I wouldn't want it," Holloway commented. "I wouldn't want to pay a player £220,000 a week. I think the expectation that brings for that player and that club is enormous. I wouldn't know how to handle it or who to buy, would I? The team better learn quickly how to be disappointed when they're not picked and take it in the right way and if they don't, is that the manager's fault? I wouldn't blame him."

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