‘I want to be the best player in Scotland!’ – Joey Barton tells talkSPORT

first_imgJoey Barton has described his Rangers move as a ‘phenomenal opportunity’ and challenged himself to become the SPL’s best player.The 33-year-old has penned a two-year deal with Mark Warburton’s side, who will be back in the Scottish Premiership next season after a four-year absence.Barton was Burnley’s Player of the Year as the Clarets secured a return to the Premier League. He was out of contract at Turf Moor in the summer and, despite being offered a new one-year deal, the former Queens Park Rangers and Burnley midfielder opted to move north of the border.He explained on Drivetime: “It was just a phenomenal opportunity, I couldn’t get away from it.“I went up there last week, you feel that cross-town rivalry.“I just thought I had a great opportunity to join a club that’s just going to start another successful period after many, many periods of success and a more difficult one recently. It was one of those opportunities I couldn’t let pass. I went up there and was blown away by the size of the football club and everything that goes with being a player for Rangers.“I have never been to an Old Firm game but anyone you know who’s been there it’s the first thing you ask. You can just sense how big it is. People say a lot of things about Scottish football but Rangers being back in the top flight makes for a more interesting programme.“That’s not being disrespectful to anyone else but you see when they met [Celtic] in the semi-final, it’s one of those games where the football world stops to watch it.“It’s a huge part of the football world so to take that opportunity, to hopefully sample that.  I’ve had a good career but to add that, to have another experience of playing in an intense football atmosphere, the challenge I was looking for at the junction in my career, it just ticked every box and I had to be a part of it and I can’t wait to get started to try get Rangers back where they belong.” Huyton-born Barton turns 34 in December and, with over 400 professional appearances under his belt, he feels he still has a lot to offer.He continued: “I still feel I can more than hold my own, I feel like I’m on an upward curve as a player as last season showed.“I don’t want to go up there as a swansong, a last hurrah. That’s not me.“I’m going up there to play the best football at the peak of my powers, challenge for titles, cups and also after getting a personal accolade this season at Burnley, I want to go to Scotland and be the best player in the country – that’s my aim.“There’s some good players and a lot of players will want to have a say. That is something for me to aim at but it’s something I know my character will thrive on.”With Burnley returning to the top flight, Barton had the chance to continue his stay in Lancashire and Sean Dyche’s side. On his decision to leave England for pastures new, Barton added:“I’ve been in the Premier League before and [turning the chance down to play there next year] was a real tough decision for me.“You’re turning your back on a Premier League that’s going to contain [Pep] Guardiola, [Jurgen] Klopp, [Jose] Mourinho, [Antonio] Conte – a plethora of top managers and the players that will come with that.“It wasn’t an easy decision but I just felt I had a great journey at Burnley. Everything has a beginning, middle and end and sometimes if you stay too long it ends up ruining it. I had a great year and it’s organically the right stage to get off. I’ve got a lot of friends beyond a professional experience and I’m onto the new challenge and what a challenge it is up at Rangers.”Listen to Joey Barton on Drivetime in full, above. 1last_img read more