French leave suits Joey Barton; Wilfried Zaha draws Tony Pulis plaudits; Sheridan joins Plymouth Argyle as manager


Marseilles would welcome Joey Barton beyond his season-long loan from QPR. The midfielder was loaned out last summer, after receiving a 12-match ban for his red card against his former club, Manchester City.

But Barton has flourished in the south of France where he has quickly become a key cog in a Marseilles side at the top of Ligue 1.

"He was described as an animal, but he is just the opposite," Jose Anigo, Marseilles' sporting director, told L'Equipe. "The team has been lifted by his competitive spirit. He is now established as a leader in our group."

Zaha draws Pulis plaudits

Tony Pulis has joined a growing list of admirers in Crystal Palace's England international Wilfried Zaha after watching the winger during Stoke's 0-0 draw in the FA Cup third round on Saturday. Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United are reported to be interested in the 20-year-old.

"He looks a terrific player," the Potters' manager said. "He's got great feet and his balance, like all great players, is wonderful.

"He can go either side and he shifts people without even touching the ball. He's a top, top player."

Sheridan joins Plymouth Argyle as manager

Plymouth Argyle have confirmed John Sheridan as the club's new manager.

The Pilgrims , who are in danger of relegation from League Two, sacked Carl Fletcher on New Year's Day. Sheridan, 48, has previously been in charge at Oldham Athletic and Chesterfield but has been out of work since August.

"I am very privileged to get this opportunity," Sheridan. "Everyone I've talked to says what a good club it is and what potential there is.

"I think I know what's required from the players and what we need to do to succeed."