Pardew eyes Barton future
Alan Pardew believes Joey Barton can have a lengthy career at the top level if he stays with Newcastle.
Last Updated: 14/03/11 4:28pm
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew believes Joey Barton can continue to have a lengthy career at the top level if he stays with the club.
The 28-year-old midfielder has been one of the Magpies' best performers in the Premier League this season after a number of difficulties in recent years.
Barton has scored five goals in 26 appearances this term and Pardew is confident he can continue to flourish at St James' Park.
"I've had a great relationship here with Joey," he said in the Newcastle Chronicle.
"He's got four or five years, maybe six, still left at the very top. And if he stays in the space he's in now, he will have a successful period.
"I think I understand him and, in my own way, I've tried to assist him and in the process he's delivering."
Pardew added: "Joey is not a normal footballer, he is quite eccentric.
"His eccentricity extends to his game too and he does things on a football pitch that are eccentric at times.
"That's what makes him the player that he is.
"He has been consistent on the pitch because he's been consistent off it with his behaviour.
"And Joey's behaviour is a reflection of where he is at."
Barton, who made the move to Newcastle in 2007 from Manchester City, has had a number of problems off the field and while Pardew admits he never holds back, he is happy with the tenacious battler's current temperament.
"He carries his heart on his sleeve a little bit still and there have been games we've played when I can see he's been upset," he remarked.
"When he's upset it can affect him. At Fulham he was upset about something - and I won't go into reasons why - and he didn't play well.
"Nobody understands it better than himself, and no one has worked harder at it than him.
"You have to pay him full tribute for that.
"From where he was not that long ago it is a tremendous feat."