Campbell backs captain Barton

Boss Neil Warnock took the surprise decision to hand Barton the
captain’s armband in Monday night’s goalless draw against his
previous employers and he will now skipper the team for the rest of
the season. While Barton’s attitude on the pitch has never been
questioned, his actions off it mean his appointment as the leader
of Warnock’s new-look side will surprise many. The midfielder spent
time in prison in 2008 for assault, was fined six weeks’ wages for
stubbing a cigar out in a team-mate’s eye while at Manchester City,
and former City player Ousmane Dabo accused the 29-year-old of
leaving him looking like “the elephant man” after a training ground
fight. The latest controversy surrounding the star came this summer
when he vented his anger at the Newcastle hierarchy on Twitter and
they responded by making him available on a free transfer.
Campbell, who was one of 12 signings to arrive at Loftus Road this
summer, insists that Barton is a reformed character now though and
is convinced he is the right man to lead the club in to an exciting
era under new owner Tony Fernandes. “He’s a great lad and I’m
delighted if the gaffer named him captain,” Campbell said. “He’s a
good person. A lot of people say bad things about him but, in the
time I’ve known him and spoke to him, he’s been superb. The lads
took to him straight away and I’m sure he took to the lads straight
away. “Joey is Joey. He has been there and done it before.” Barton
had offers from other clubs but joined QPR after being impressed by
ambitious owner Fernandes. The midfielder is now focused on
repaying the faith shown in him by Fernandes and Warnock. “I’m here
to showcase what I’m all about,” Barton said. “I’ve got a manager
who worked very hard to bring me to the football club, as well as
the chief executive, the chairman and the vice chairman. “As a
football club they made me feel really wanted. I’m quite a loyal
person and I’m hoping to reciprocate that and more. I’ve not just
come here for a season. I’ve come here for the long-term.” Warnock
is convinced that Barton can regain his place in the England set-up
despite Three Lions boss Fabio Capello deeming the midfielder to be
“too dangerous” to play international football. Shaun
Wright-Phillips, who was QPR’s best player last night, is another
new signing hoping to get back in to the international reckoning
after drifting out of contention following a poor spell at
Manchester City. But Campbell believes that it is not just
Wright-Phillips and Barton who can earn an international recall.
“We’ve got a few English players here so we’re all hoping that (we
will be called up),” he said. “Shaun and Joey were England players
from before and players like myself and Jay (Bothroyd) and even
Luke (Young) and Anton (Ferdinand) are people who, if the country
called, would be willing to play. “We’ve all just got to keep
playing our game, keep doing what we’re doing, win a few games and
then push on. You never know what will happen with internationals.”
Newcastle are now up to fourth in the table after stretching their
unbeaten start to the season to four games. The Magpies had to work
hard for the point last night, twice clearing off the line, but
defender Danny Simpson was happy for the team to have picked up
their third clean sheet. “To get three clean sheets out of the
first four games is some achievement,” Simpson told Newcastle’s
website. “It wasn’t the prettiest of games. We had a bit of luck
but you need that when you come away from home if you want to get
something. “It was great defending from the boys and if we can keep
up that kind of form at the back, I’m sure we’ll keep on picking up
points.”