I've still got it, insists Barton

Published Jul. 19, 2010 11:11 a.m. EDT

The 27-year-old player's time on Tyneside has been blighted by injuries and his infamous spell behind bars, but he is determined to rediscover his best form on a sustained basis to finally provide a return on the Magpies' £5.8million investment three summers ago. Barton, who captained Chris Hughton's side in Saturday's 3-0 friendly victory at Carlisle, told the Evening Chronicle: "For me, first and foremost I want to do well for Newcastle United. "But watching some of the performances in the World Cup over the summer I think that on form, I'm as good as anybody in this country. "I don't say that lightly and I have to go out and prove that, but surely every midfielder in this country should be thinking like that? "They should be looking at it and saying, 'That's where I want to be and that's where I can go'. "That's my goal, and if I break into the England squad, it proves that I am doing fantastic for this football club. "Firstly, I have to do well for Newcastle, though." Barton played only a cameo role in last season's Championship title charge as injury once again sidelined him, and he is desperate to show the Newcastle faithful what he can do. He said: "At the end of the day, I was an England international as a box-to- box midfield player. "I don't say this lightly, but I'm a much more rounded footballer now than I was when I first signed for this club. Injuries have restricted my chances to show that. "If I can sustain fitness for a long period of time, I'm very confident of finding the form that got me in the England squad."