Sam Allardyce has been talking to the Newcastle Journal about Joey Barton, whom he considers a top midfield talent.
With Joey rapidly approaching match fitness Sam has said he will be in the squad for Newcastleâ€™s next game against Tottenham, a week come Monday.
Letâ€™s take a look at what Big Sam said.
Joey Barton – will very likely play some part in Tottenham game
Sam told Luke Edwards of the Journal
â€œI signed Joey because he is an elite Premiership midfielder and there are not many of them around,â€
â€œHe will score goals from midfield and he protects the defense as well, he brings a complete package to the side and that will be a big boost to us. He is good passer of the ball, he is a strong tackler and he brings combativeness off the ball.â€
â€œWe have signed a top midfielder with his best years ahead of him. He knows heâ€™s got to control his behavior on and off the pitch, but Iâ€™m confident he will do that.â€
â€œI think he was top goalscorer at Manchester City for the last two seasons and that is something remarkable for a midfielder.â€
Since being injured Joey has not missed a Newcastle game, traveling with the party to away games. In the last 2 weeks he has played 45 minutes and 60 minutes in two of our reserve games and then on Tuesday played a full 90 minutes against Rangers in a prearranged friendly game. There is likely to be another behind the scenes match arranged that Joey will play in some time next week.
The other thing that Sam mentions, which is on the minds of Newcastle fans, is his behavior. He must control his aggressive tendencies and he cannot allow that to ruin what can be a tremendous playing career for Joey. There’s nobody better to help him than Big Sam, but it’s ultimately up to Joey. We really hope he succeeds on both fronts, and he’ll get great support from the Newcastle fans.
Sam went on:
â€œJoey played for 90 minutes this week and thatâ€™s great news. Heâ€™ll get another game in next week and hopefully another 90 minutes and then weâ€™ll see about the Tottenham game.”
“Thatâ€™s a realistic target for him now.â€â€œWeâ€™ll monitor his fitness levels and see how much he has improved in the days since the Everton game, but heâ€™s got a good chance of playing against Tottenham.”
“I doubt heâ€™ll be ready to start the game, but weâ€™re looking to put him in the squad.â€
Weâ€™ll have to see which players return from international duty unfit (hopefully nobody) but this will be the first time our two creative midfielders Barton and Emre will both be available this season. Hopefully, this will mean weâ€™ll see a lot more creativity in Newcastleâ€™s play. From what Sam says it looks like Joey will get to play some part in the vital home game against Tottenham. By that time he will likely have have played almost 5 hours of competitive play on his comeback trail, so he should be ready to go.
We expect Joey to hit the ground running and immediately give a lift to Newcastle’s creativity in midfield. A win against Sours would propel Newcastle from their current 9th position into the top 5. Then we’d be very well placed so early in the season.