Barton's talent has never been in question, although he has often been in the headlines for well-documented disciplinary problems. But Pardew feels Barton is a changed individual and he produced another influential performance in the 2-0 win over Birmingham at St. Andrew's last night.
"I have to say Joey has worked very hard at turning his life around," said Pardew.
"That has been projected onto the football pitch. We are getting the best of Joey Barton probably at anytime in his career. I thought he was very unlucky to get booked against Birmingham with some of the other challenges that went on.
"Maybe there is still a slight stain against him. But for me, and I can only take someone as I find them, Joey has been superb."