Queen’s Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton is never short of an opinion or two, and he is never one to let the opportunity to let everyone know exactly what he is thinking. This week, Paris Saint-Germain midfielder, Marco Verratti, fell under Barton’s spotlight. It’s not that Barton’s thinking is completely wrong, there are areas in which Verratti can improve, but saying that he isn’t a class player due to the number of touches is quite naïve from the former Marseille midfielder.
Verretti takes too many touches to be a top player. Felt that playing against him last year. He hasn't evolved. Still young enough too mind— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) April 2, 2014
First, let’s look at the facts from Wednesday night’s game. Verratti touched the ball 106 times, 11 times more than any other PSG player. He did however complete 93% of his passes that night, and according to WhoScored.com he didn’t make any turnovers in the game against Chelsea. Verratti’s possession play is something that he has come under criticism from Laurent Blanc this season, and he can quite often hold onto the ball a little longer than he should. He is just 21-years-old though, and he has time to develop this part of his game. It is only his second season in top flight football.
Despite what Barton says, Verratti has improved since last season. He has been a crucial part of the PSG midfield this season and has grown more into his role this season.
It’s interesting to see how many touches the Barcelona midfield made in the same week against Atletico Madrid. PSG try and play the same midfield style, lots of passes, as much possession as possible and eventually grind teams down. Xavi, Barcelona’s midfield general made 125 touches, Sergio Busquets, the deepest of the three midfielders made 107, both more than Verratti.
The Italian may dwell on the ball at times, but to say that he will not be a top class player because of the amount of touches he makes is just a ridiculous statement and it’s not like Barton is an expert when it comes to being a midfield playmaker.
One of Barton’s biggest arguments is that he is qualified to talk about footballers abilities because he has played the game at the highest level. Well , last season Barton played against Verratti twice, once in the Coupe de la Ligue and once in Ligue 1. Marseille lost both games. In the league game PSG won 2-0, Verratti had 58 touches of ball, playing only 76 minutes. Barton played the whole game, making 93 touches and only completing 83% of his passes.
Who’s making too many touches now Joey? - Oh and btw you spelt Verratti wrong ;)