Pearce backs Barton

15 December 2006 04:40
Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce is pleased to see England boss Steve McClaren taking an interest in Joey Barton's improved form this season. McClaren said earlier in the week that he was considering selecting the combative midfielder for his next England squad, and Pearce is delighted by the news. "I think it's a step in the right direction with the England manager saying 'we're aware of you and that you're playing extremely well.' All the indicators are right," Pearce told the club's official website. "No one would be more pleased than me if Joey got into the squad. He's worked very hard to get where he is now and it gives everyone at this football club great credit. "I know he's got a burning ambition to represent his country. I think any player at this football club that gets international recognition, Micah Richards, Stevie Ireland, especially players that have come through the Academy system, it should give the club immense pride - and it does. "I can only see it as a positive. You've got to equate it to yourself and whenever I was selected it gave me immense pride. "If any of our players go away on international duty, I'm pleased for them. We'd never stand in their way and stop them joining up with their country. It should give them a massive lift and they should come back better players. "The one thing I'd say about him (Joey Barton) is that he's improving. As the months and the weeks go on I think that he's getting better and better. If you ask me whether he's the finished article then I'd say definitely not, I think there's improvement there. The more coaching time he gets out there and the more he matures as a person, the better he'll get as a player. "He's had a good first half of the season and we've got the new England manager talking about him being a possibility; that has got to be a fantastic lift for him. "He needs to have a good second half to the season and, having stuck a whole year together, he'll put some pressure on the England manager and obviously keep performing for me."

Source: ESA