Don’t be alarmed, it’s not a crazy as it sounds. What do you think when you first think of Joey Barton?

Most people think of a thug, an idiot and a loudmouth.  These people have a point but I don’t agree with them.  What I think of is that he is an incredible waste of talent, and if any one phrase sums up English football, it’s “an incredible waste of talent”. 

For years England had a team that could and should have been world beaters.  Long before Jordan Henderson graced a field of play they had Scholes, Beckham, Lampard and Gerrard at the peak of their powers.  What do they have to show for it?  The England national team has done absolutely nothing since 1966 and looking at the current crop of players, can we really expect anything different in the near future?  To return to Joey Barton, is he not therefore the perfect representation of English football?  Bags of talent, potential to burn but he has nothing to show for it. 

What are footballers when you examine them closely?  They are entertainers.  You try looking me in the eye and tell me that Barton isn’t entertaining.  I’m not saying I like what Barton does a lot of the time but that’s the point isn’t it?  He’s a panto villain; you don’t have to like him to make him necessary for the plot.  I was gutted when he was sent to Marseille on loan.  This was until I realised that he could spread his wisdom on a European scale.  This is a man just two days before QPR’s final game tweeted messages of peace and calm before proceeding to get himself sent off and attack two other City players before being forcibly removed from the pitch. 

Footballers are supposed to be mental.  Paul Scholes is arguably one of the best players to ever play for England, but what sort of world would we live in if all footballers acted like him off the pitch?  He is the epitome of professionalism i.e. he’s quite dull. 

Barton’s recent media exposure came as a result of his truly wonderful press conference in which he used a French accent.  The man is as Scouse as Jamie Carragher but he put  Arsène Wenger to shame with his Franglish tones.  The world stood up and mocked but hes only doing what the majority of English and Irish tourists do when they go abroad, speak English in a preposterous version of the local accent.  We can be thankful that he didn’t follow the line of yelling in English accompanied with the relevant hand gestures that may have been seen as being more offensive than amusing. 

Joey Barton is an England International, no seriously, look it up.  His solitary cap came in a 12 minute cameo against Spain in 2007.  Look at other ‘England Internationals’ on the one cap mark Michael Ricketts, Francis Jeffers, Kevin Davies, David Nugent, Chris Sutton and several others.  It reads as a list of the who’s who of who cares.  Had Joey Barton been well behaved I’m certain he would have gotten an awful lot more caps.  Can anyone say that Jordan Henderson is a better player than Joey Barton?  He has five England caps and given the state of the current side, he’ll probably get at least 50 by the time his appalling career ends. 

Footballers aren’t known for their intelligence to put it mildly.  What exactly do you expect when you give a pile of high school drop outs infinite piles of money?  Do you expect them all to behave themselves?  Barton’s list of achievements off the field include being charged for assault outside a Liverpool nightclub, putting out a lit cigar on a youth team player, attacking team mate Dabo during training and mooning Everton fans' and generally being a pain in the ass if you excuse the pun.  You certainly can’t argue that he doesn’t deserve his bad boy image. 

Barton has done some horrible things in his career but no one can say that he doesn’t give his all on a pitch.  He’s tough tackling, a wonderful passer of a ball and completely cracked in the head, what more could you ask for? 

I didn’t set about writing this to defend Joey Barton, the man is a moron but he sums up English football in one foul swoop, huge potential wasted.  Having said that, as a United fan, I’d swap Carrick, Nani and Anderson tomorrow if Utd got Barton.  Even if it is for no other reason than to see a show-down between him and Fergie.  Barton would need more than philosophy on his side in that argument.