Despite only making one appearance for the England national team, Joey Barton doesn’t reflect on his international career with any disappointment.
The 35-year-old, currently serving a suspension for breaching betting laws, understands that he played in an era when England had many fantastic midfielders.
“It was disappointing to me that my England career only lasted 12 minutes, but I wasn’t expected to get one cap,” Barton said on talkSPORT this week.
“There were some incredible players ahead of me - [Steven] Gerrard and [Frank] Lampard were the main two players in there. Michael Carrick, Scott Parker, Paul Scholes - it wasn’t what it is now.”
Barton’s one and only England appearance came in a friendly against Spain in 2007. He replaced Lampard in the 78th minute in a 1-0 defeat.
It’s interesting that Lampard was the one who would make way for Barton, for the two were embroiled in a rather public spat at the time.
Barton had criticised Lampard’s performances at the 2006 World Cup, saying he couldn’t play alongside Gerrard. Lampard was presumably one of the players that Barton was targeting when he accused members of the England squad who had released autobiographies following the disappointing World Cup of cashing in on the national team's failure.
Barton and Lampard had a falling out
"I don't think Joey should talk about me and Steve Gerrard, that probably says enough,” Lampard responded in an interview with The Times.
"Joey mentioned that he was running at six in the morning in Dubai on holiday and then he wondered if me and Stevie G were doing the same.
"When I read that, I thought: 'I was doing that when I was 11. That's the difference.
“As a professional - and I know I'm talking about another player now - you shouldn't talk about other players too much.”
What Barton said to Lampard at breakfast one day
Their feud carried on when the England squad met up for the Spain friendly.
Writing in The Guardian in 2012, Marina Hyde explained how Lampard had moved tables at breakfast to avoid sitting near Barton.
Barton wasn’t happy.
"It's all right," he called. "I'm not going to nick your breakfast, you fat p***k.”
It’s easy to understand why Barton was never invited back. The ability of Lampard, Gerrard and co. was enough to keep him out of the squad anyway, but it made sense not to have someone who clearly raised tensions in the dressing room.
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