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.”