Manchester City's Mario Balotelli can score 20 goals a season, says Adam Johnson

03 October 2011 09:30
Adam Johnson has backed Manchester City team-mate Mario Balotelli to fill the void left by Carlos Tevez and become a 20-goal-a-season striker.

The Italian was a constant thorn in Blackburn's side during City's Premier League 4-0 rout of Rovers, scoring the second and going close of several more occasions.

Super Mario: Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli turned in a man of the match performance against Blackburn, scoring once and hitting the post

Johnson, who was first on the scoresheetwith a stunning long-range strike, expects Balotelli to stake a claim for a regular starting berth in light of Tevez's suspension for refusingto come on against Bayern Munich.

Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko have so far led the line, but after the Bosnian himself reacted poorly to being substituted in the Champions League, the door is well and truly open.

Full package: Balotelli has pace, power and knows exactly where the goal is

'Everyone knows what Mario's like but he's a goalscorer,' said Johnson. 'He's a man who can get 20 goals a season if he plays as a central striker. He's a big lad, strong - he hasall the attributes.

'It's just a case of putting it together week in, week out. He's close to doing that as well. You look at his stats and it just proves his goalscoring ability. If you give him a chance, he'll put it away.'

The win at Ewood Park put City back on track after a tricky period in which they lost in Europe and also dropped points domestically.

Up for grabs: The Carlos Tevez debacle has left a space in the City team

'You can certainly say it was a good response to what happened,' said Johnson. 'You could see we were together out there but the unity has never gone - it's always been there.

'We showed our resilience. After everything that's happened and then coming in at 0-0, a few heads could have gone down. We could have crumbled. But this shows the strength of the squad and the character we have here.'

 Martin Samuel: Trust your Basic Instinct. Tevez is toastTevezgate continues with striker set to be formally quizzed by Man CityAguero to undergo scan but expected to be out for at least two weeksSportsmail's Match Zone: All the stats, facts and fallout from Saturday's games

Source: Daily_Mail