In the average career of a top-flight footballer, the opportunity to appear at a World Cup will only come around three or four times. Therefore in a World Cup year, warming the bench or turning out for the stiffs is not an option. Thankfully for those struggling to make an impact, this time of year throws up a few potential opportunities to make a push for Brazil.
In the nearly five months since his new contract, Mancini seems to have been trying very hard to destroy his own credibility, and City's chances of building on last season's triumph. A series of baffling transfer and team selection decisions have contributed to City's stuttering start to the Premier League, and now - after a 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund - being in danger of exiting the Champions League at the group stage for the second successive year.