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Last Updated: Monday, 9 January 2006, 11:38 GMT
Adams sees Barton in England role
By Simon Austin

Joey Barton
Tony Adams has tipped Manchester City midfielder Joey Barton to make a breakthrough into the England squad.

Barton, 23, spent a week at Adams' Sporting Chance clinic earlier in the season to be treated for anger and behavioural problems.

Adams told BBC Sport: "It's a question of when, rather than if, Joey receives international honours.

"If any player puts in the kind of performances he has, they put themselves in contention for England."

Adams, 39, added: "Realistically, the World Cup might be a bit soon for him.

"England have some outstanding midfielders and I think Sven (Goran Eriksson, the national coach) already knows who he wants to take to Germany.

"But he's making a strong claim and can't be ignored."

I've certainly got a lot of respect for the way he (Barton) has transformed his life
Tony Adams

After he was sent home from their pre-season tour of Thailand for fighting with a teenager, City set Barton an ultimatum - go to Sporting Chance or be sacked.

He attended the clinic, run by chief executive Peter Kay, for a week and has been an ever-present for City since then.

And there were reports in one newspaper last week that he is being watched by Chelsea.

Adams, who finished his career in good form and good health after seeking treatment for alcoholism, said: "I enjoyed the best six years of my career when I asked for help.

"The game seemed to become easier for me after that - and the medals and honours became more numerous as well.

"Who knows, Joey might experience the same thing - I hope he does.

"The form he's been showing proves how well he's dealt with his personal issues.

"I've certainly got a lot of respect for the way he's transformed his life - I know from experience that it isn't easy to do."

I was like many others who judged Joey without knowing him - he seemed an ignorant thug
Lee Dixon

Adams is so impressed with Barton that he had no hesitation in making him patron of the Tamsin Gulvin Fund, set up to help young people pay for addiction treatment.

And Adams' former Arsenal and England team-mate Lee Dixon has also paid tribute to Barton.

"I was probably like many others who judged Joey without knowing him - he seemed like an ignorant thug," he told BBC Sport.

"But when I first met him at a Sporting Chance fundraising day, I was surprised. He was a thoughtful and caring guy.

"I know he's benefited from working closely with Sporting Chance, like many other people.

"Now he's a great example to other young players and addressing his problems at such a young age has taken a lot of guts."


SEE ALSO
Barton promises to repay Pearce
22 Aug 05 |  Man City
Barton sorry for hotel bar fracas
23 Jul 05 |  Man City
City to decide on Barton's future
23 Jul 05 |  Man City
Barton apologises to boss Keegan
24 Dec 04 |  Man City


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