RIYAD MAHREZ is ‘openly whining in training’ about his lack of game time at Manchester City, according to reports.
It is thought the club’s record signing – who joined for £60million from Leicester last summer – feels he is not getting enough starts, despite playing 42 times in his debut season at the Etihad.
The winger, 28, has been an unused sub in the last three City games, including the second leg of the Champions League clash with Spurs, as well as the crucial matches against Liverpool at home and the Carabao Cup final.
And according to the Mail, he has not been afraid to make his displeasure known around the City training ground.
Mahrez has scored 11 goals in all competitions this season but three of his last four have come against Rotherham, Burton and Newport County in the domestic cups.
He has also chipped in with 11 assists, four of which were in the Champions League group stages as City topped Group F.
But the Algerian has been criticised for failing to live up to his price tag when his side have needed him most this season.
He went missing in the first leg against Spurs and was trusted with the crucial penalty against title-rivals Liverpool at Anfield in October.
But his miserable penalty record continued as he fired his spot kick well over the bar and that miss could prove crucial come the end of the season.
Three weeks later – just two days after the tragic Leicester helicopter crash – the former Foxes man scored the only goal of the game as City beat Spurs at Wembley.
He also scored winning goals against Watford and Bournemouth and boss Pep Guardiola has openly admitted he is “sad” by a lack of starts.
This season, Mahrez has played 26 Premier League games, starting 13 and coming off the bench for the other 13.
In truth, though, his performances have not come close to the levels consistently found by team-mates Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva.
The pair – who are both up for the PFA Player of the Year award Mahrez won in 2016 – have racked up an incredible 35 goals and 28 assists between them this season.
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Sterling is virtually a guaranteed starter even with Guardiola’s tendency to tinker while Silva has stepped up time and time again as City look to defend their Premier League title.
Mahrez will be desperate to get his chance to have another big say this season, starting tomorrow night with the crunch derby clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Guardiola knows his side must win their remaining matches to guarantee finishing above Liverpool, who look poised to take advantage should Manchester City have any hiccups.