Writing a diary has convinced Joey Barton he has a future in the Premier League.
The troublesome England midfielder, who has played for Manchester City, Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers in England’s top-tier, has not played a Premier League game since Queens Park Rangers were relegated at the end of the 2014-15 season.
But the 33-year-old midfielder, now at Burnley after a loan stint in France with Marseille, believes he has found new ways to rid himself of the pent-up frustrations that have often distracted him and caused unsavoury episodes on and off the park.
He spent two months in prison in 2008 after attacking a man in Liverpool in a particularly low moment of his career, but Barton said writing a diary with his innermost thoughts had allowed him to focus on his football, telling the Daily Mail: “It’s not seen as a male thing to do, but I’ve found it’s given me the power of reflection. It helps me keep sanity when there’s no sanity around you.
“It’s important for somebody who has a brain as restless as mine. Once you write it down, it’s there and it’s gone. It helps you kind of self-analyse.
“I can scribble four or five pages some days, two lines other days, all written long-hand. It’s for no-one to see, just for yourself.”
Barton said it had also given him the chance to see where he might have gone wrong in his career and with a clear and focussed mind, he is hoping to get Burnley back into the Premier League where he hopes to see out his playing days.
“I came to Burnley to play in the Premier League,” he said.
“I thought I was going to play in it this season with West Ham but that move fell apart last summer and so I came to Burnley to do it.
“I still think I’ve got a lot to offer. It’s not something I say flippantly, I’ve analysed it. I know for a fact that if Burnley were in the Premier League today I could deliver what the manager would expect of me, I’d have absolutely no problem with it at all.”