Joey Barton mad his first start for Newcastle since last September on Saturday, and after a poor first half scored Newcastle’s second goal early in the second half, direct from a free-kick, and then played very well indeed.
Joey Barton – cuddling Colin Calderwood after scoring
In fact in our poll for Man of the Match on Saturday Joey is well in the lead with 43% of the votes followed by Jose Enrique with 16%, who had another excellent game.
Joey took most of Newcastle’s set pieces in the first half, but generally had been hopeless, and then he scored the goal from 23 yards out by lifting the ball over the wall and beat the goalkeeper at the near post – an excellent goal.
Chris talked about Joey’s goal today:
“I don’t know if it was inevitable Joey would score after his set-pieces in the first half,”“I think we were all quite surprised to see it go in actually. But he worked hard in the game and it’s just a case of him getting back used to the feel of things.”
“He’s been training for five weeks now and is part of this squad. With the two games (over this Easter weekend), I am in a position to change things round a little bit. When you do that, you just hope it works.”
“He just wants to play,” “I don’t think he has a point to prove – he’s a good footballer. He hasn’t played enough football, that’s the difficulty. It’s important he gets over the injuries and is available.”
“This is just his first game back and unfortunately we’re running out of games, which is a shame for him because a fit Joey is always a plus to the squad.”
It was great to see Joey show some good form on Saturday, but there’s no way Chris will start him in two games in as many days.
We expect Danny Guthrie to come in, and with Joey having a good game on Saturday Danny will be wanting to play well tonight, as it seems Joey is one of his chief competitors for that offensive central midfield position.
As far as Joey goes we hope he has a very quiet summer, and then comes back fully fit in July, prepared to have his best season at the Newcastle club when we get back to the Premiership.
Chris’ job will be to keep the Liverpudlian fit for the season.