Joey Barton has vowed to put his arm around Andy Carroll in an attempt to prevent the Newcastle striker from repeating the controversies which have dogged the midfielder's career.
Newcastle top scorer Carroll will appear in court on Monday to answer a charge of assault against team-mate Steven Taylor less than 48 hours after heading the winner in the Magpies' 2-1 victory over West Ham. The appearance will be the striker's second in court in a matter of days after he was handed a separate charge of assaulting his ex-girlfriend last weekend - something which he denies.
Barton, who has seen his career tarnished by several off-field incidents, said: "If Andy wants any advice then he knows where I am. I've been in his shoes,"
He added: "My reputation hindered me for a long, long time and I will try and guide him to stop him from going down that path. We are human beings and Andy hasn't been convicted of anything. He's a great kid and a great lad," continued Barton, who set Carroll up for the winner at Upton Park with a pinpoint cross in the second half.
"He comes into training and works hard every day, and all the lads in the dressing room support him, as does the gaffer."
An injury crisis had led to calls for Carroll to be given his first international cap against Montenegro earlier this month but England boss Fabio Capello overlooked the Magpies striker in favour of Bolton's Kevin Davies.
Carroll's fifth of the season against the Hammers means he is now the joint top English scorer in the Barclays Premier League alongside Sunderland's Darren Bent.
Barton does not shy away when asked to describe the 6ft 3in frontman's potential.
"Everyone has seen what he did against West Ham," Barton added.
"He can score goals, he is a real handful. He isn't the finished article by any means, but he is a precocious talent. If that is channelled right then he has the world at his feet."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms