Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton has launched a scathing attack on England's World Cup hopes and dismissed Gareth Barry as a "teacher's pet".
In an outspoken assessment of the state of the national team, the in-form Barton once again championed his own cause and in particular, pointed to Barry's inclusion in Fabio Capello's squad as an indication of its current malaise.
He told French magazine So Foot: "Barry's got a very good agent. He's also discreet and always agrees with the manager. He's like the guy who sits in the front row and listens to the teacher. I certainly don't lose any sleep when I play against him."
He added: "Did you see the game against Germany at the World Cup? If you watch the fourth goal, when [Mesut] Ozil was up against Barry, it was like the hare and the tortoise.
"Honestly, I think I'm the best [English midfielder]. Luka Modric and Samir Nasri are very good, but in terms of English players... well, Jack Wilshere isn't bad, but Frank Lampard's on the way down and Steven Gerrard's been injured a lot."
Barton does not anticipate any glory for England at future World Cups as he believes the Football Association are behind the times.
He added: "We English will play the next 50 World Cups and we will never win one.
"The people in charge at the FA played football maybe 50 or 60 years ago and still think that we can win a World Cup in the same way we did in 1966."
Barton also had a word of warning for his club as they attempt to thrash out a deal to keep him at St James' Park.
He said: "If (Kevin) Nolan signs a new deal, I will as well. But I hope the club step things up. I want to be ambitious and I think the club share that desire."
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