Barton urges Capello to pick 'rogue' Carroll

A character reference from Joey Barton is perhaps not what Andy Carroll needs right at this moment as the Newcastle United striker presses his claims for inclusion in Fabio Capello's England squad to face France next week.

Were the decision to be made on footballing criteria alone, Carroll would almost certainly be heading for an England debut in next Wednesday's Wembley friendly. His performance and goal in Sunday's 1-0 win at Arsenal suggested he could become the player Capello so desperately craves, someone with the ability and character to put in the work and lead the line, but who also possesses the talent to weigh in with his fair share of goals.

With Darren Bent, Bobby Zamora and Jermain Defoe injured, and Wayne Rooney doubtful, the time has come for Carroll, 21, to be given a chance. Picking him, however, will be fraught with problems. The Football Association has concerns as Carroll faces the threat of jail over an impending court case, and he has so far shown no sign he is willing to curb his wilder moments of excess.

Enter Joey Barton, Carroll's Newcastle team-mate, who served 77 days in jail for common assault and affray in 2008. Speaking after Newcastle's victory at the Emirates, Barton accused Capello and his predecessors as England manager of picking players based on their "goody two shoes" reputations rather than their form and fitness.

"If you want to win football matches then sometimes you need players who don't always toe the line," Barton said. "Every other national team picks players because they're best in their position. The frustrating thing for me is we pick the good guys, the guys who won't cause any problems.

"For me, what do we want to do? What do England want to do? Do we want to win football matches or do they want to attract sponsors and earn a lot of money? For me, on form, Andy Carroll has to be in the England squad.

"Hopefully England will stop worrying about what the sponsors are going to say and if 'goody two shoes' is the right image for Team England. They need to start picking players to win football matches."

Barton may well get his wish, for Capello is understood to be minded to include Carroll when he announces his squad on Saturday, despite the latest incident involving Carroll, which centres on an alleged all-night party at captain Kevin Nolan's house, where Carroll has been ordered to live as part of his bail conditions. Carroll is due to appear before magistrates in January having denied a charge of assaulting his ex-girlfriend.

Barton's comments highlight the dilemma facing Capello, and he has a point. It is doubtful that such a controversial figure as Diego Maradona would have become one of the all-time greats had he been born in Borehamwood instead of Buenos Aires, and he would certainly not have gone on to manage the national team. Instead, England's history is littered with players whose behaviour off the pitch limited their England call-ups, players such as Stan Collymore, who won three caps, Peter Osgood (four), Paul Merson (21) and Stan Bowles (five).

The easiest thing would be if Carroll were to mend his ways, and Barton has shown in the past two years it is possible to change. Now 28, Barton is arguably playing the best football of his career following a concerted effort to clean up his act.

"What I've found in later life is that you become more mature and that was a way of getting the best out of myself," Barton said. "It's helping me now that I've not been in trouble for a long time. It's getting the best out of me and it's easier to perform."

Barton is confident the same will be true of Carroll. "He's a great kid, a wayward rogue like I was. People have walked in his shoes before, probably me more than anyone. There are a lot of experienced heads around him, like Sol Campbell. Everyone is there for him."

Carroll played down the England talk, and was unaware that Capello had been at the Emirates to see him score. "I didn't know that. I've just got to see what happens, really," he said.

Arts and Entertainment
arts + entsWith one of the best comic roles around, it's no wonder she rarely bothers with films
News
people
News
i100
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
News
i100
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
News
i100
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup