Joey Barton

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Barton believes England rugby players got off lightly

Joey Barton believes the England football team would have been pilloried by the press if they had courted a fraction of the controversy that shadowed the country’s rugby team in the recent World Cup.

The England side wrought chaos in New Zealand. Players were accused of harassment by a local hotel worker, were fined for breaching sponsorship rules and one player was even questioned by police after jumping from a ferry.

Although these incident were reported by the press, Barton thinks that their footballing counterparts would have come off much worse if they demonstrated such behaviour.

He said: “The minute a footballer steps out of line, I think the media in this country – because of the sums of money they earn and also because of the stigma attached – are really quick to jump on it”.

“There is a lot of envy about what footballers earn, the astronomical figures,’ he added. ‘That’s not our fault.”

Given this, Barton believes that had the football team behaved in the same manner and then been defeated by a team they were expected to beat, there would have been “Public executions” when they got home. Those who follow the Betfair betting will know that unrealistic expectations are often place on the national side and this doesn’t help the public’s perception of them.

Barton also claimed that belief “football is a gentleman’s game played by thugs, and rugby is a thug’s game played by gentlemen” had been proven to be wrong by events at the World Cup.

The QPR man has made no secret of his desire to return to the national set up and has claimed on more than one occasion that if the side were picked on form alone he would have already added to his solitary cap.

However, anyone looking at the will know he seems unlikely to be selected for the side.

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