Barton used to it
It just washes over me these days, says Barton
Last Updated: September 19, 2011 10:41am
Joey Barton is confident he will continue to overcome his critics after getting the better of an increasingly personal battle with Karl Henry on Saturday.
Barton netted the first to put new club QPR on the road to a 3-0 win over Wolves, and believes his long track record of controversy has furnished him with important experience.
The 29-year-old, who arrived at Loftus Road on a free transfer from Newcastle, renewed his running battle with Wanderers midfielder Henry with physical and verbal challenges flying at Molineux.
Barton said: "Kelvin (sic) Henry is always trying to stick his foot in and hurt people. He's been chirping up all week saying he's going to do x, y and z to me and then he let himself down by not showing up on Saturday.
"I really don't like him. I'm going to go on record and say that. Judging from his tackles on me, he doesn't like me either. I'm not going to mince my words.
"He's trying to make a name for himself. He keeps doing interviews saying he's this throwback midfielder who likes a challenge. I embrace the physical aspect of the game, but there's a difference between doing that and trying to make a name for yourself through hurting people.
"Every time I play against him, he's non-existent. It's not the shrewdest move of him to carry it on because he obviously can't handle the situation.
"Every time I play, everywhere I go I run the gauntlet so for me it's quite normal. For me to go to an away ground and get booed and get verbally abused is the norm for me.
"I have to thrive on it. You have to or you perish. There's a sick sort of side to me that would worry if they didn't boo me, but every team I play in it obviously frees other players up.
"I've become hardened to it. It'd be nice to go to other players and get a good reception but it'd be strange too because I'm not really used to it. It's like a pantomime - that's what it gets like."
Rangers midfielder Shaun Derry feels that there are two sides to the story with many feeling Barton was first to spark the war of words and tackles - and that's what makes the game interesting.
The veteran said: "You play the game and you play the game to win. Joey's just said his piece there and I'm sure Karl will have a different outlook and a different take on his relationship with Joey.
"Ultimately, Joey is such a focal point to our game and yesterday it really worked to our advantage. The players that the manager has brought in of late have been of a category to what we've had in the past.
"When you get guys like Joey and Anton Ferdinand and Shaun Wright-Phillips, you get an ego with that. The level's different - when you go into the Premier League it's just different."
Controversy reared its head late in the game on Saturday, when a particularly robust tackle from Henry on Barton brought cheers from the Molineux crowd.
Barton reacted by gesturing '3-0' to the opposition supporters - but insists it was meant as playful banter rather than as an attempt to incite problems in the stadium.
He said: "I can't repeat what the crowd were saying to me but it's just strange how they can say whatever they want and if you give even the slightest bit back then you're in the wrong.
"It just makes it that bit more special what we did to them."