Graeme Souness has urged Rangers to broker a peace with Joey Barton.
The former Ibrox boss is concerned by the state in which his old side find themselves after they suffered their latest setback at Pittodrie on Sunday.
The 2-1 defeat by Aberdeen means Mark Warburton’s team have taken just nine points from their opening seven Ladbrokes Premiership fixtures, leaving them languishing in seventh place.
Yet former Manchester City, Newcastle and QPR battler Barton, pictured right, remains an outcast in Govan due to a club suspension following a heated training-ground bust-up with manager Warburtonand team-mate Andy Halliday. The controversial 34-year-old has said he has no plans to quit Ibrox and Souness reckons Barton could yet offer the Light Blues the kind of experience they will need to turn around their flailing fortunes.
He said: “Joey has played at a high level, he’s played in the Premier League. We were doing some TV work for the Euros together in Dublin during the summer. When he spoke about football he was very, very knowledgeable.
“He spoke very well and he expressed his real desire to be a coach or a manager one day. He is 34, you would like to think he is in a position now where he is capable of helping some of the young guys he is playing with. Rangers do have a young team and they would need that help from senior players. I am a great believer [that] you’ve only got a chance of doing well when you have good senior pros. Do I hope it does get resolved? Most certainly because he has something to offer football.”
Souness was no stranger to confrontation in his days as Rangers’ headstrong player/manager in the late 1980s but believes if Barton is to rejoin Warburton’s squad, he must learn to toe the line.
The ex-Scotland captain said: “I have met Joey and I have found him to be charming, intelligent, a football nut and I know he was desperate to come here and do well.
“But somehow he has got himself into this predicament and I like to think that the manager, who seems to be a calm and level-headed human being, will resolve it and get the best out of Joey Barton because he certainly still has a lot to offer Ranger.
“But it has to be on the manager’s terms – not on Joey’s.”