London (AFP) – Former Rangers manager Graeme Souness wants the Scottish giants to patch up their differences with Joey Barton.
Barton has been on the sidelines following a heated row with manager Mark Warburton and team-mate Andy Halliday after their 5-1 defeat by Celtic in the Glasgow derby.
Last weekend’s 2-1 loss to Aberdeen meant Rangers, again without Barton, have taken just nine points from their opening seven Premiership games this season.
Barton has insisted he does not want to leave Ibrox and former Scotland midfielder Souness has urged Rangers not to force him out of the club.
“Joey has played at a high level, he’s played in the Premier League. We were doing some TV work for the Euros together in Dublin during the summer,” Souness said Monday.
“When he spoke about football he was very, very knowledgeable.
“He spoke very well and he expressed his real desire to be a coach or a manager one day. He is 34, you would like to think he is in a position now where he is capable of helping some of the young guys that he is playing with.
“Rangers do have a young team and they would need that help from senior players.
“I am a great believer in football clubs, you’ve only got a chance of doing well when you have good senior pros.
“Do I hope it does get resolved? Most certainly because he has something to offer. He has something to offer football.”
Former Scotland captain Souness had some fiery exchanges during his time as Rangers manager but said that, with a bit of give and take, relations between the club and England midfielder Barton could be restored.
“I can’t comment on what happened because I don’t know.
“I have met Joey and I have found him to be charming, intelligent, a football nut and I know he was desperate to come here and do well.
“But somehow he has got himself into this predicament and I like to think that the manager, who seems to be a calm and level-headed human being, will resolve it and get the best out of Joey Barton because he certainly still has a lot to offer Rangers in terms of playing football.
“But it has to be on the manager’s terms — not on Joey’s.”
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