The 28-year-old Liverpudlian, Joey Barton, will be welcomed back to the Newcastle first team on Sunday, after he served his 3 match ban for violent conduct.
Joey Barton – returns to Newcastle side on Sunday
This is what Chris Hughton said about Joey today:
“Since I started working with Joey two years ago, there have never been any doubts about the ability he has,”
“Unfortunately, that’s been interrupted by injuries, but when I first came he played in the second half of the 2007/08 season, and was magnificent.”
“He wasn’t a problem, and we have seen more of that ability on show this season.”
“It’s about consistency, and we hope to keep him in the team for as long as we can because he’s an important player for this club.”
There’s little doubt that Joey is an excellent player and indeed this season he’s be in some of the finest form in his career, and how many times have his pinpoint crosses this season been headed home by Andy Carroll?
Of course Joey made his first mistake for probably a couple of years, when he lashed out at Blackburn’s Morten Pedersen a couple weeks or so back, and he was rightly banned for 3 matches.
Joey then apologized to the fans, and also personally to Pedersen. And then Morten, to his immense credit, gave Joey some glowing tributes as he really thought Joey was trying to improve himself, but he had slipped off the wagon in that instant, when he hit Morten.
But Joey cannot do that many more times, and he has to be extra sure that he can control himself on the field of play.
After having given up drinking completely, that has certainly helped his off-the-field behavior, because he’s admitted when he drinks any alcohol he gets violent – so that’s the end of drinking in this life for Joey – hopefully.
Hughton went on:
“I’m glad Joey’s back – we had three players out through suspension in the last game.”
“Now we’re coming up to the festive program, you just want all of your players available. They’re to come back, and hopefully build up some good form.”
Barton’s form this season has rightly seen him tipped for a return to the England squad, but that will never happen, and shouldn’t happen, until he has proved he’s in complete control of himself on the field of play.
“He’s been in good form, and if people are talking about an England call-up it’s because somebody’s playing well in the top division.
“That’s exactly what Joey had been doing. Hopefully, he can continue that on his return.”
That possibility will keep Joey moving forward with his football, and it’s very clear he really wants to stop his stupid antics on the field of play.
Joey can still become a really great player for Newcastle United over the next several years, and bury his past stupidities, and even become a good role model for the youngsters, if he can overcome his demons once and for all.
We really hope he can.