Joey Barton has revealed how ex-England captain John Terry welcomed him to the national squad with a classy phone call.
The former Manchester City midfielder’s international career lasted just 18 minutes when Steve McClaren brought him off the bench for a friendly against Spain in 2007.
Now manager at Fleetwood, Barton recalls a phone call from Chelsea legend Terry which left a lasting impression on him after he was named in the squad.
“I thought I should’ve been in the three or four squads before that, so I thought I was never getting in,” Barton told talkSPORT.
“Then I got the phone call from the FA, which was closely followed by a call from John Terry, who was the England captain at the time.
“He was fantastic on the phone. He spoke about what was expected of an England player, welcomed me into the group and said, ‘Look, you should’ve been here earlier but it’s great to have you in the group’.
“It really made me feel at home. I didn’t feel like the new boy on the school playground.”
Terry, now assistant manager at Aston Villa, was stripped of the England captaincy twice following his affair with Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend and racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand.
But Barton, who saw his fair share of controversy during an eventful playing career, still holds Terry in the highest regard.
“Everything I’ve seen about John since, I’ve never changed my opinion of him. I just remember that phone call and I thought it was a real moment of class.
“It was everything I expected of the England captain and it really helped me settle. It was phenomenal.”
Barton was subsequently ignored by Fabio Capello and the former Newcastle man previously told talkSPORT he deserved more caps.
He said last year: “Capello had never met me and at the time we’d just come back up to the Premier League with Newcastle and I believe I was playing as well as anyone in the country.”
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But now Barton reveals a drunken incident may have affected his England chances.
“Unfortunately for me, that was the only squad I got in,” he added.
“I actually played brilliantly against Spain who went on to become world and European champions.
“But because I went out, had a few pints and got in an altercation in the city centre, I was never called up again.”
Gareth Southgate yesterday announced his squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro later this month.
Declan Rice earned his first call-up after switching allegiance from the Republic of Ireland.