Switching allegiance 'selfish' - Barton

Published Tuesday, 04 June 2013
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Outspoken footballer Joey Barton has given his thoughts on the issue of players swapping national allegiance, describing those who do so as "selfish".

Switching allegiance 'selfish' - Barton
Joey Barton at the Dub in Belfast. (© Pacemaker)

In an interview with the UTV, the former England international - who is in Belfast to earn his coaching badges - said the rules on declaring should change because it's becoming a problem.

Barton explained: "I think a young player maybe at 11, 12, 13, if you declare for say Northern Ireland, then you get a lot of coaching from the IFA and they put a lot of time into you, then at 19 or 20 you decide you want to play for England or southern Ireland, is that fair?

"Well, if you said at 14 you want to play for England or southern Ireland then they could put the time into coaching you because that's where you're going to end up.

"But you're taking away from someone who doesn't have an option and might have been a kid who was maybe not as good at 13, but with the right coaching could have represented their country, so I think it's really unfair."

Maybe there could be a rule made where if you're a certain age you declare and that's it and that would stop it because it's becoming a problem now.

Joey Barton

A controversial FIFA ruling exists that allows players born in Northern Ireland to declare for the Republic, regardless of blood ties, and a handful of players have taken advantage of it - despite spending time in the Irish Football Association's youth set-up.

The likes of James McClean, Dan Devine, Shane Duffy, Daniel Kearns and Paul George have all accepted age-group calls for NI, only to pledge their senior future to the FAI.

More recently 19-year-old Wolves striker Liam McAlinden revealed he is making the switch after representing NI at youth level.

Joey Barton continued: "It's unfair, isn't it? That's how I would see it to be. I've always been a great believer of you make your bed and you lie in it."

Barton, who started his career as a youth at Everton and has since played for the likes of Newcastle and Manchester City, also spoke about the infamous French accent he adopted in Marseille.

"You don't realise you're doing it at the time, then all of a sudden you realise and you know you look stupid," he said.

"I'd be quick to laugh at someone else if they did the same and, in the scheme of things, it was funny - but I'm not the first and I certainly won't be the last."

© UTV News
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48 Comments
jackie in belfast wrote (536 days ago):
@Peter in Magherafelt yeah I guess its only going to be a shared future when there is a united Ireland then?@Barry in Belfast typical comment,anyone who doesn`t see things the sinn fein way are bigots!!!
Peter in Magherafelt wrote (539 days ago):
Jackie, you think a shared future means us nationalist accepting being part of the UK. Catch yourself on.
Barry in Belfast wrote (539 days ago):
@Jackie in Belfast and @Iain in Belfast. I never mentioned religion or bigotry once. Quite the contrary. So who really has the 'bigoted little mind'. Only one side of this argument ever mentions religion because to the other, your religion doesn't really matter at all.
Arch Stanton in sadhill Cemetry wrote (539 days ago):
Joey Barton LOL. Just WHO is he??? Exactly. Enough said?
Iain in Belfast wrote (540 days ago):
Barry and MC, you guys come out with some utter crap, you really do. Both of you are quite happy to tar the whole NI support with the same brush. Why? To suit YOUR own bigoted little minds. Such a pity that the two of you hate protestants that much. Complete ignorance from you clowns.
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