Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton has launched a scathing attack on England's World Cup hopes and dismissed Gareth Barry as a "teacher's pet".
In an outspoken assessment of the state of the national team, in-form Barton once again championed his own cause and, in particular, pointed to Barry's inclusion in Fabio Capello's squad as an indication of its current malaise.
He told French magazine So Foot: "Honestly, I think I'm the best [English midfielder]. Luka Modric and Samir Nasri are very good, but in terms of English players. well, Jack Wilshere isn't bad, but Frank Lampard's on the way down and Steven Gerrard's been injured a lot.
"Did you see the game against Germany at the World Cup? If you watch the fourth goal, when [Mesut] Ozil was up against Barry, it was like the hare and the tortoise.
"Barry's got a very good agent. He's also discreet and always agrees with the manager. He's like the guy who sits in the front row and listens to the teacher. I certainly don't lose any sleep when I play against him.
"We English will play the next 50 World Cups and we will never win one. The people in charge at the FA played football maybe 50 or 60 years ago and still think that we can win a World Cup in the same way we did in 1966."