Barton non-committal on QPR future

Joey Barton of QPR holds up the shirt of team-mate Alejandro Faurlin as he celebrates with team-mate

Joey Barton of QPR holds up the shirt of team-mate Alejandro Faurlin as he celebrates with team-mates after scoring the equalising goal at Reading. Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images

Joey Barton has refused to confirm whether he will stay at QPR beyond the end of the season.

Barton, who has two years still to run on his contract, has been one of Rangers’ standout players this season, helping Harry Redknapp’s side to third in the Championship.

However, the 30-year-old missed out on a return to Marseille during the summer, after spending last season on loan with the Ligue 1 side.

And while Barton insists he is happy at Loftus Road, the midfielder refused to discuss his future beyond the end of the current campaign.

“I still believe that I am a Premier League player,” said Barton. “I am part of a club that got relegated. I wasn’t here to be part of that. But I have a contract and I am here to get the club back in the Premier League.

“Beyond that is getting too far ahead of ourselves. Is it a good thing that I didn’t go to France? Not really, no – I had an offer on the table from Marseille.”

Barton admitted that his opening season at QPR was frustrating. The former Newcastle United player was sent off on the final day of the 2011-12 season and banned for 12 matches after being charged with violent conduct by the Football Association.

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But he believes that his relationship with the QPR fan-base has improved steadily ever since, a factor which he says is partly responsible for his impressive displays this season.

Barton added: “I’ve been on record before in saying that I was disappointed with my own performances in my first season at QPR. It was something that didn’t sit well with me.

“I’m really thankful that the club and the fans have given me the opportunity to show that that’s not what I am like as a player.

“What has changed? A number of things; things change in your personal life. Confidence as well, knowing that the fans believe in you makes such a massive difference to players.

“I am as thick-skinned as they come, but when your own fans criticise you it can be difficult.

“Hats off to them, since the first game of the season against Sheffield Wednesday they have backed me. It is no coincidence that I have turned in a couple of decent performances, and long may it continue.”