Joey Barton: QPR team mate deserves England call-up, not misfiring Liverpool backup

Joey Barton Marseille

QPR midfielder Joey Barton says Charlie Austin should be in the England squad ahead of Rickie Lambert.

QPR's recent upturn in performances was almost rewarded on Saturday, as they took the lead twice against reigning Premier League champions Manchester City before eventually drawing 2-2 at Loftus Road.

Charlie Austin gave QPR the lead in the first half with a well taken finish, but that came after he'd already had the ball in the net on two occasions.

The first was a head when he was clearly offside, and the second came just moments later as Joe Hart's 'double touch' free kick well at his feet, and he slammed the ball home before play being brought back.

Austin, 25, was a constant menace to the City back line and has now scored six goals this season - over half of QPR's tally for the campaign so far.

There have been tentative calls for Austin to be called up to the England squad after his impressive exploits in front of goal this season, but has lost out to Rickie Lambert in Roy Hodgson's latest squad.

However, his QPR team mate Joey Barton believes that Hodgson should be choosing Austin instead, given that Lambert has yet to even find the net for Liverpool this season.

"He [Austin] has been playing really well of late," said Barton. "It sounds like I’m going to slate Rickie Lambert again, but I’m not."

"I just think that if you’re not playing for Liverpool, who can’t hit a cow’s a*** with a banjo at the minute in terms of their frontline, and you can’t get a game for them, how do you get in the England squad?"

With Austin impressing and Lambert struggling, here's a quick look at their comparative stats so far this season...

  PositionTeamShotsShots on TargetFlick ons wonTouchesAppearancesMins Played
Charlie Austin FW QPR 35 13 40 326 10 848
Rickie Lambert FW Liverpool 4 2 6 93 9 175

It's obviously worth noting the difference in playing time, but that's part of the issue. Lambert isn't playing often enough, and is averaging just one shot for every half of football played.

Austin has had nine times as many attempts on goal as Lambert, whilst still maintaining almost 50% shot accuracy - the same as Lambert. That's impressive efficiency from a player who is serving a similar 'target man' role, and he's winning almost seven times as many flick ons as former Southampton star Lambert.

The stats back up Barton's suggestion over Austin, but given that he's playing for a relegation-threatened side whilst Lambert features for a 'big' club, Hodgson may well favour the latter in upcoming games - despite Austin being clearly better so far this season.

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