Joey Barton yesterday ridiculed suggestions that Scott Parker was a better player than him. Barton was writing on Twitter and defending his recent claim that he was the best English midfielder.
The Newcastle United player had told French magazine So Foot in April that he was the best of his compatriots. Yesterday a Twitter user suggested that Parker and Jack Wilshere were better than Barton, and while Barton admitted the class of Arsenal's 19-year-old, he dismissed claims that Parker was his superior. "Wilshere is class and is goin [sic] to be an infinitely better player than me, no doubt about it," Barton conceded, "but Parker come on."
Despite West Ham's relegation, Parker was lauded for his performances last season, leading the Football Writers' Association to make him their player of the season and Fabio Capello to select him in three England internationals this year. Barton, though, insisted that he was better, pointing to the fact that Parker's club finished bottom of the Premier League. "He's not in my league", Barton wrote, "...FACT he s [sic] actually in the championship." Barton also pointed to the games between Newcastle and West Ham last season: "Did I not dismantle him twice, think it was 2-1 at their place, 5-0 at ours!! And they were easily relegated #justsaying."
When asked to explain his absence from the England squad, Barton explained that "we all know that's political and not professional".
Barton's comments were not wholly negative, though. He praised Spurs' Luka Modric and Arsenal's Samir Nasri as the two best players in England last season. "Modric and Nasri were the best two players I played against in the league," he wrote. "I put Modric out in front as the best by quite some distance... miles ahead of me in my opinion."