Kevin Keegan has again defended his midfield player Joey Barton, and refused to comment on the claim that Nasri didn’t come to Newcastle because Joey was at the club.
Joey Barton – will need to get used to the hostility
Kevin said yesterday:
“We decided to put Joey on because what you saw against Arsenal was all I’ve got fit at the moment,” “There wasn’t any other reason, he’s fit and he has to play at some point.”
“He went on for five minutes and did well. When I looked at my bench he was the best player to go on and if I didn’t do that I wouldn’t be doing my job properly.”
“Joey has got to get used to the stick he is going to receive and he’s got to win through that.”
“I don’t know what the French players think about Joey, you’d have to ask the French players. I saw what Nasri said about not signing for Newcastle (because of Joey) but I’m not going to say anything to them.”
Many observers thought Barton’s tackle on Nasri, just moments after coming on was rather reckless, but manager Keegan disagreed with that assessment. However, Barton will get this kind of treatment in almost every single game he plays this season, and he will need to get used to it – quickly.
“You’ve got to be able to tackle in the game of football. Someone said Joey’s tackle was reckless, but it was a good tackle, it’s unfair to say anything different. That’s his game.”
It’s interesting that Nasri said he wouldn’t sign for Newcastle because of Barton. He would have been a great signing for us, but whether we could have got him even if Barton wasn’t here, when Arsenal were also interested, is very debatable – we don’t think so.