Barton should be an England regular, says QPR boss Warnock
Controversial midfielder has not fulfulled his potential
Neil Warnock believes Joey Barton should be an England regular playing for one of the top clubs in the country, and says he never expected to lure the Newcastle midfielder to QPR.
Barton, who turns 29 later this week, signed a four-year deal at Loftus Road, becoming the Rangers manager’s seventh signing of the summer when he joined the club on Friday.
Warnock admits he is expecting some controversial moments from Barton, but believes he can handle a temperament which has limited the 28-year-old to just one England cap.
“Joey Barton without a shadow of a doubt should be playing at Arsenal, Tottenham, you name it, he should be at one of the top clubs,” said Warnock. “He’s got that to carry, he’s got to live with that, knowing he really should be an England player in my eyes, I’ve thought that for many years.
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“But you’ve got to conform to how you are to be an England player, and he’s fell short a little bit.”
Barton was in the stands as his new side lost 2-0 at Wigan on Saturday, and after that match Warnock admitted: “I didn’t think we’d get Joey Barton, if I’m honest, I’m amazed one of the top clubs didn’t take a gamble on him.
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“I think he can get more out of the players that are here already because he wants to win.
“Up to Tony [Fernandes] coming in, I’ve been shopping for free transfers and there aren’t enough hours in the day. It’s just as difficult because everyone wants those little gems that cost nothing.”
Rangers were unable to complete the former England midfielder’s registration in time for him to feature against Wigan, but he is now in line to make his debut when his former club visit Loftus Road a week on Monday.
The Rs fielded a somewhat lopsided team at the DW Stadium, with Bradley Orr’s injury and Clint Hill’s suspension prompting Warnock to deploy four central defenders at the back.
He then sent on 18-year-old Michael Harriman for his league debut when Fitz Hall limped off during the second half, while another teenager, forward Bruno Andrade, also made a substitute appearance.
Despite their limited options, QPR might well have gained a share of the spoils as they went down to a Franco Di Santo goal in each half - both of which found the net with the aid of a deflection.
At the other end, Adel Taarabt struck the post and had a free-kick pushed onto the upright by Latics goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, while defender Bruno Perone hit the bar with a header.
“If we’d got the first goal, I think we’d have won it,” said Warnock.
“I thought with the team we had out, we were fantastic. I asked my players to give me their all and they gave me their all.
“As long as we’re creating chances, that’s the important thing, and it wasn’t our day, but we live to fight another day. I’m quite pleased with the way we’ve coped so far in this league and there’s nothing to fear.
Follow Ian Cooper on Twitter @QPRTimes