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Sunday 4 December 2016

Paul Hyland: Hero McShane shows Balotelli the way to do it

Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli

YOU really have to laugh. Mario Balotelli put more effort into learning how to use graphics software so that he could tweet his intentions for next season than he did actually playing football during this one.

He's a dab hand with Photoshop, or some such graphics package, if this is an example of his handiwork. Though, with the kind of money he's been trousering for doing very little for a long time, maybe he pays someone to do it for him.

That would be about right. Balotelli has shown no interest in taking responsibility for himself in all the time he has been in England when it comes to matters connected to association football. Social interaction with the rest of humanity has also been limited.

We rely on Twitter and various social media to keep track of him and his escapades.

Anyone who has yet to see Balotelli's artwork (right) missed a picture of his back as he stares into a dungeon lit by flaming torches. Framed in the doorway is a picture of Wembley Stadium.

Balotelli's wrists are manacled and no doubt there are many psychiatrists who would give us an insightful explanation about what that means.

restrained

The man himself clearly believes that he has been restrained in some way from performing to the best of his ability. Playing the odd time would help and scoring a few goals would help even more. Most Liverpool fans think he is just a lazy and indulged waste of space.

"Thanks to Liverpool fans for this year... I'm loading for next season. #beast." said his tweet. Cue general scratching of head.

What was wrong with the season that's just ended? His manager, the man who defended him more often than anyone should, is roasting on a slow spit and may well lose his job but all Mario does is crop, paste and tweet. It's a hard life.

As the perfect antidote to Balotelli's languid approach to his job, Paul McShane was spouting blood and thunder in defence of Hull's Premier League status.

He didn't quite succeed in manhandling Hull out of the relegation zone but his effort was an object lesson in commitment and personal pride.

It's corny to say these things because men like Balotelli make better headlines and the language of heroism has been cheapened.

But McShane, in his own, wild and passionate way, is a hero and for once, the headlines reflected that fact.

Like Balotelli, he fights with managers but for all the right reasons. He had a barney with Steve Bruce a few months back and in a fit of anger tweeted that he had been training with the reserves.

He's a fiery, stubborn character who listens to his own counsel. Within a few days, he had listened hard enough to realise that the route he was taking was doing him no favours.

So he did what a smart footballer does and put his relationship with Bruce right. Ever since, he has been the most committed Tiger of them all and you expect nothing less.

There he was on the last day, at the last hour, doing everything he could do to earn the big wages he is paid, even if, by Balotelli's standards, he is earning peanuts.

McShane is no fool. In many ways his performance for Hull was an audition for his next club and it was a very good one.

He's not a fashionable footballer, never has been, but his form for Hull in the last few months has been, to quote one fan on a Tigers' forum "epic".

We should be proud of him. He makes Balotelli look like the dilettante he is but chances are he will be playing in the Championship next season alongside many, many footballers like him and he won't have time to tweet.

Maybe Mario could do it for him wherever he washes up next season. He should have hours to waste.

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