Joey Barton. England’s best midfielder?

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:

That’s 8 successful passes (blue) and six unsuccessful (red). One successful pass into the box. Hmm.

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.

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2 Responses to Joey Barton. England’s best midfielder?

  1. Fred Cutler says:

    Hmmm. Didn’t see Barton. But I will say that his passing is more ambitious (like Charlie Adam or Martin Nash [the latter: OVERambitious or just silly]) and he’s more of a right-sided player than Lampard’s never-get-close-to-the-touch-line approach. When Barton is on with that long passing game, he can have as much impact as Lampard’s charging into the box and scoring goals. Maybe Barton just looks great against lesser opposition: he was masterful against my Hammers this year. On the other hand, what if Barton had Chelsea teammates to pass to?

    And Barton shows more leg than any Premiership player since 1994, so he does deserve some respect, even if he’s a massive jerk.

  2. RR says:

    Now that Carroll is no longer a Magpie, one has to wonder if Barton’s particular forte (besides earning suspensions) of long service into the box has diminished value as far as NU are concerned. With all due respect, none of the Newcastle forwards can hold a candle to Carroll in terms of posing an aerial threat. Barton’s long on toughness, but short on intellect — he’s just as apt to cough up the ball on a poor pass as he is to chase down and two-foot slide into the unfortunate fellow who intercepted. Transfermarket website lists him at just over half the value he had four years ago — seems about right.

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