Speaking to the Ronnie, Joey Barton outlined his plans for the next few weeks as others start their recuperation from injury by playing for their national sides. No such behaviour from the Merseysider however:
"England is on the back-burner for me without a shadow of a doubt. I haven`t been bought to play for England - I am here to play for Newcastle United. People get carried away about playing for their country. It is always nice to be selected, and it is always a privilege and an honour. But the thing I have to do first and foremost is to do what I have been bought to do and that is play good football for Newcastle.
If England comes then so be it, but I have played for them once now and that`ll do for me. I am more interested in winning domestic honours. This is my bread and butter and at the minute, hand on heart I would much rather be successful for Newcastle United than I would for England.
It`s always nice to score a goal whether it`s in training, the first team or the reserves. But for me it was important last night, along with people like Matty Pattison and the more senior pros in the set-up, to show a good example to the kids because we had a very young team. To be fair, we did that in the first half and the young kids responded and put in a great performance because the game was dead and buried before half-time.
I think it was a formality that we`d won in the second half, so it was important to do that. They were saying to me 'come off` after 65 minutes because that was always the plan. But I was saying 'no I can play 90 minutes.` But that`s the way I always am and I wanted to push myself that little bit further. They know a lot better than me how to get to the right level and they have done very well for me with my injury so far. So it is just a case of trusting them and listening to what they have to say.
There is no rush because there is no game for another couple of weeks until Spurs and I must be careful to make sure that I am in contention for that game. Tottenham is now a realistic target, without a shadow of a doubt. If there had been a game this weekend, I would have been pushing for it.
I know the gaffer has gone on record and said he wanted me to play two or three reserve games, and I have no problem with that. I do need it as I have only had five or six training sessions. I then played 45 minutes at Man City and 65 against Wigan last night, which I have counted as training sessions. It`s all going in the right direction and the foot feels as good as it`s felt for a long time - I am just desperate to play.
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