Joey Barton is to be made captain of Newcastle, as part of a bid to lure the controversial midfielder into signing a contract with the northern club.
“It's important to keep your best players,” Newcastle manager Alan Pardew told reporters yesterday.
“Ours showed up on Saturday and Joey Barton was one of them.”
Now, Pardew has decided that Barton has repented for his past sins and deserves a chance to wear the armband for Newcastle.
“He will be captain for the next two games and the spotlight will be on him, that is for sure,” Pardew said.
“Everyone will be watching him to see how he handles it, but he deserves the chance to take on that responsibility – not just with his displays but also his behaviour.
“There is a maturity and a calmness about Joey and, apart from one mishap against Blackburn, he has kept his control."
But Pardew won’t be too worried about keeping Barton at Newcastle next season, with the midfielder’s agent Willie McKay telling reporters there are just finer details still to be discussed on his new contract.
“Joey is happy at Newcastle and would be happy to talk,” McKay said.
“We're not a million miles apart, it's about the length of the deal.
“He wants to get back into the England squad and believes he can do that with Newcastle.”