He was a no-nonsense midfielder, famed for his fitness and work rate, and that is the style which Joey Barton says he will bring to Fleetwood Town.
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The club’s new head coach wants his team to show that same work ethic and truly represent the town’s working-class roots.
Barton rose from schoolboy footballer through Manchester City’s academy to play for England, and now he is hanging up his boots to start his new chapter at Highbury.
And when the players report back for pre-season training on June 18, they had better prepare to graft as Barton says he does not have time for anyone who doesn’t give his all for the team.
While he would not give any clues as to his favoured formation, Barton explained Town’s style of play will reflect his own.
He said: “We are going to take the game to everybody at every opportunity, same way I did as a player.
“We are going to be in people’s faces as much as we can, on the front foot and playing a brand of football that represents this local community.
“This area has hardwired working-class values instilled in it and the team will represent that.
“We won’t be prima donnas or have anyone strutting round. If you do not buy into giving everything for the team you will not be at Fleetwood Town.
“If you give us everything and buy into it, then you will be very successful here.
“We need the team to represent the people because it is a people’s team.”
As well as coaches Steve Eyre and Clint Hill, Barton will also bring sports psychologist Steve Black along for the ride as he bids to build a culture like the one he experienced at Burnley.
He added: “There is an incredible culture already in place at Fleetwood.
“You only have to look at the progress from non-league to where they are now as an established League One club. And there are other people who will come on the journey with us.
“Steve Black, Steve Eyre, Clint Hill and Eddy Jennings (agent) are all phenomenal people and they will contribute massively to what is already a very good group of staff and players at this football club.”