Barton for England?
Joey Barton feels his move to QPR can earn him an England recall and he could be right, but he may have to wait until after next summer for his chance.
With Steven Gerrard and Jack Wilshere injured and Frank Lampard suffering a dip in form, Barton has arguably been one of best, if not the best, English midfielders in the Premier League in recent months.
But the debate as to whether the former Newcastle man should be involved in the national team is never just a footballing dilemma, but should it be?
Barton has never tried to deny his misdemeanours off the pitch and his personality is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but no-one can deny his ability. However, pundits like Lee Dixon are split over whether he should be allowed to play for his country given his past.
The majority of the Newcastle supporters would concede that he was their best player last season and most were angry with the club’s hierarchy for not keeping the 29-year-old.
But the move to the capital may well turn out to be the best thing to happen for Barton’s career, as he targets a chance to wear the Three Lions.
Neil Warnock has already made the midfielder his captain and plans to build his team around the ex-Manchester City star – if QPR stay up, he will have played a big role. Fans of Betfair football should realise just how important he is to the club.
Players also seem more likely to catch the national team manager’s eye if they are based in London, although Barton may need to stay patient.
Fabio Capello does not appear to be the type of manager that would accept Barton’s straight talking and it may have to be a return to an Englishman at the helm for the QPR ace to get a call-up.
But Barton, who says he feels he has “something to offer” his country, won’t have to wait too long, with Capello due to leave after Euro 2012 – should England qualify.