St James’ Park bad boy handed armband following new found ‘calmness’.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has handed Joey Barton the captain’s armband during Kevin Nolan’s suspension.
Barton, who will lead his team against Aston Villa on Sunday, has been a controversial player at every club he has been at.
He has been sent to prison, put team-mate Ousmane Dabo in hospital and had a bust-up with former manager Alan Shearer.
But in the last few years the 28-year-old has seemingly put all that behind him and turned a new leaf.
Pardew has backed the midfielder saying Barton deserved the opportunity for maturing both on and off the pitch.
“The spotlight will be on him, that is for sure,” he told the Newcastle Journal.
“Everyone will be watching him to see how he handles it, but he deserves the chance to take on that responsibility – not just with his displays but also his behaviour.
“There is a maturity and a calmness about Joey and, apart from one mishap against Blackburn, he has kept his control.
“He was excellent again against Wolves last weekend and we hope he can play as well against Aston Villa and in the game after, because we will need him to.”