After the 2006 World Cup, Joey Barton took some of the England players who rushed books on the experience to market after playing quite poorly. The quote from Barton, “England did nothing in the World Cup, why are they bringing books out? ‘We got beat in the quarter-finals, I played like shit, here’s my book’. Who wants to read that? I don’t.
Obviously one who has no patience for big game bottlers. But Barton had his chance today to back his claim that he’s England’s best midfielder with a strong performance against league leaders Manchester United. A win in the game played at St. James Park would also put them over the 40 pt plateau that generally keeps teams in the Premier League.
So how did Barton do? Worse as the game went on to the point that in the second half he was pretty much non-existant.
Here’s his passing in the second half:
For comparison sake, let’s look at how the player Barton thinks he should be picked ahead of for England duty, Frank Lampard (second quote down seems most appropriate), did in the second half when Chelsea played United, also at home, recently.
That’s 20 completed passes out of 27 attempts in the second half of the game and three of the incomplete passes were corner kicks. Not only is Lampard more involved in terms of quantity of passes but there’s far more variety and scope to what he plays and where he plays it from.
But there’s more to the game than just passing and even though he is a distributing, attacking midfielder that links attacks with strikers, maybe he contributed defensively today.
Let’s have a look at his tackles from the hard lad from the streets of Liverpool.
A whopping two tackles won out of five attempts. Anything else stand out? According to Guardian Football stats, not really: 1 blocked shot in the second half, zero clearances, zero interceptions and zero shots.
Big players do it in big games. Joey Barton didn’t. Maybe he should give the ‘big me’ talk a bit of a rest for awhile.