Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton has refused to react to Everton legend Neville Southall’s criticism of the 30-year-old, and has also played down talks that he is seeking a move to Goodison Park.
Barton’s agent Willie McKay admitted yesterday that he had contacted Everton manager Roberto Martinez over a transfer to the club, which Barton supported as a young boy, claiming that he was willing to take up to a 50 per cent wage cut in order to join them.
McKay also said that Martinez was interested in a move for Barton, but Southall likened the player to Forrest Gump when speaking on the matter, saying: "Yes he is fit and runs up and down all day but Forrest Gump did that as well didn't he?”
But Barton took to Twitter to respond to the comments, and spoke of his admiration for Southall despite his criticism as well as his preference to remain with Marseille before the deal collapsed.
“Big @NevilleSouthall has given it to me I see. Gutted, he was one of my hero's growing up. Best keeper in the world at 1 stage,” he said on his official Twitter account.
“Am not getting after him. Regardless, of what he thinks of me. I will always have the utmost respect for the player he was. #legend.”
Barton also added his thoughts on the speculation regarding his agent’s attempts to force through a move away from Loftus Road.
"It's well known who I support. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work that out," he wrote on Twitter.
"Good football agents will always be looking to move players, that's how they make money.
"Recent rumours are slightly wide of the mark, everyone knows where I would like to end up, in France, playing in the Champions League for Olympique Marseille, nothing has changed my end.
"If not, I am contracted to QPR and will give my all to help them regain their Premier League status.
"If something happens and both clubs decide differently than I will assess my options.
"No matter what happens, I intend to enjoy my football and play with a smile on my face. Again, wherever that maybe. Careers are too short.
"Hope that clears my situation up for everyone. Stop listening to all the tittle-tattle.
Barton summed up with a quote from the film Southall had compared him to, posting: “After all, Life is like a box of chocolates...”