Joey Barton has defended his form since signing for Rangers by suggesting fans and pundits are expecting him to play like Lionel Messi.
News broke yesterday that Barton was banished from Rangers until Monday after training ground bust-up, reportedly with a couple of his team-mates and manager Mark Warburton.
The controversial midfielder posted a response on Twitter last night, though quickly deleted the tweets. However, he didn’t stay quiet for long, calling into Jim White’s show on TalkSport this morning to explain his reasons behind the fall-out.
When asked about what he felt his form had been like at Rangers to this point, Barton defended his role in the team, insisting he’s “not Leo Messi”.
He said: “I’ve played five games. I’ve come up and played in the BetFred Cup. We didn’t have a pre-season because of it. That’s not my decision. I played against Hamilton and I got man of the match, so I couldn’t have played terribly. I’ve played a few games since. I’ve not been Leo Messi, but I’ve never been Leo Messi. I’m someone who gets the ball and moves it, gets it back and moves it again.
“The team isn’t playing well, and I’m a big part of that. But we need to do better as a team. You’re only as good as your team mates, so if I am to improve they have to improve.
“Rangers are making a step up. You go from playing some part-time teams in the Championship, to playing against those of a higher level. There have been a lot of changes. There have been 11 players coming in over the summer.”
Barton admits things were said in the heat of the moment that he may not have uttered in hindsight.
He’s due to meet with his manager when he reports for training on Monday, but as far as Barton is concerned, he’ll remain a Rangers player for the foreseeable future.
He said: “Everything we’ve talked about as the players is about getting better. It’s not always done in a constructive manner. Sometimes you say things in a heated way that you wouldn’t say rationally.
“I’ll sit down with Warburton on Monday. I hope the lads win on Saturday, that’s the most important thing. From what’s happened I’ll have to re-evaluate things but listen, I’m as committed to Glasgow Rangers as the day I signed. All I want is for Rangers to win.