St. James’ Park manager denies rumours midfielder refused to play.
Liverpool Tickets Available from Tixdaq.com
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has dismissed rumours that Joey Barton refused to play after contract negotiations broke down.
The midfielder was a late withdrawal from the squad that drew 1-1 with Bolton last Saturday.
His absence led to rumours of the 28-year-old walking out on the club after contract negotiations stalled.
Barton’s current deal expires at the end of the next season and attracted interest from Aston Villa and West Ham in January.
But Pardew insists Barton is committed to the cause but is unsure whether the player will sign a new contract.
“I saw a couple of whispers last week – not in the national media – that he didn’t want to play,” said Pardew.
“It’s absolutely not true. He’s desperate to play tomorrow (against Everton).
“Joey’s committed to play for us. Don’t doubt that. He’s going to come in early and try and play through that injury.”
“I don’t think the (contract) situation has changed in the last week,” added Pardew.
“We’ll have to sit down with Joey and start again because we thought we were there but it hasn’t quite materialised. I’m not going to go into detail.”