Joey Barton has launched a stunning attack on the state of the England football team in an interview with French football magazine So Foot, highlighting Gareth Barry’s presence in the England line-up as indicator of the lack of midfield talent in England.
Here is what he had to say about Barry:
“Did you see the game against Germany at the World Cup?” he asked. “If you watch the fourth goal, when Mesut Ozil was up against Barry, it was like the hare and the tortoise. Barry’s got a very good agent,’ Barton offered as an explanation for the the former Aston Villa skipper’s success. “He’s also discreet and always agrees with the manager. He’s like the guy who sits in the front row and listens to the teacher. I certainly don’t lose any sleep when I play against him.”
Barton then went on to say that he is the best English midfielder in the game today:
“Honestly, I think I’m the best (English midfielder). Luka Modric and Samir Nasri are very good, but in terms of English players Jack Wilshere isn’t bad, Frank Lampard’s on the way down and Steven Gerrard’s been injured a lot.”
Barton then spoke about England’s 2-1 friendly defeat against France last November:
“Look at Jordan Henderson (against France). He was up against (Yann) M’Vila, (Mathieu) Valbuena, Nasri and (Yoann) Gourcuff. And he had Gareth Barry alongside him. What could they do against those players? France killed us at Wembley. We English will play the next 50 World Cups and we’ll never win one. The people in charge at the FA played football maybe 50 or 60 years ago and still think that we can win a World Cup in the same way we did in 1966. We’re too focused on tradition in England, like always having to play 4-4-2. Sometimes you need to experiment, drop a bit deeper so you have more space to move into. France, Italy and Germany have done it. We’ve been doing the same thing for 20 years.”
Finally Barton turned his focus on Newcastle and the potential lack of ambition at the club. Barton has one more year left on his current deal and is unsure about extending it:
“I told them the goal shouldn’t be just to survive, to finish 16th or 17th, every season. We had a good player, Carroll, and we sold him. I told the management that I was worried, that I was scared this might happen every year. But they assured me they don’t want to go down that road. I don’t know if I believe them. I told them I might stay this summer because we have some good players and money to spend. But I’m going to wait and see if players like Kevin Nolan, Cheick Tioté and Jose Enrique stay. If Nolan signs a new deal, I will as well. But I hope the club step things up. I want to be ambitious and I think the club share that desire.”
Fascinating stuff by Barton, who should not be expected to add to his one England cap. But if you forget about the messenger, is anything he said inaccurate?
Yes Barry is slow and Gerrard and Lampard are in the latter stages of their careers. No surprises there. He thinks he is the best English midfielder in the Premier League, and his form this season should put him that discussion. He criticizes Newcastle for selling Any Carroll and wonders about the ambition of Newcastle. So do a lot of Newcastle fans.
Barton will get hammered in the press for his comments because he spoke out of turn and because he is Joey Barton. But what did he say that is untrue?