Garth Crooks: Joey Barton can lead Queens Park Rangers to Premier League safety

Garth Crooks suggests that Joey Barton is key to Queens Park RangersPremier League survival hopes.

Former Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion forward Garth Crooks has written on BBC Sport that Joey Barton can lead Queens Park Rangers to Premier League safety.

However, the 57-year-old believes that Barton needs to maintain his cool like he did during QPR’s 4-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion away from home at The Hawthorns on Saturday.

“This was a game QPR had to win and they needed a cool-headed Joey Barton back in the heart of their team to do it,” Crooks wrote on BBC Sport.

“If QPR can keep Barton out of trouble and focused on the task in hand, he can lead QPR to safety,” he added.

Barton is one of the best players in the current QPR squad, and his importance to the London outfit’s chances of survival cannot be undermined.

Over the years, the 32-year-old has developed a reputation of getting fired up too easily during matches and making rash challenges.

The former Manchester City and Newcastle United midfielder has already picked up nine yellow cards and one red card this season, and he simply cannot afford to get suspended anymore this term.

In 21 Premier League appearances so far this campaign, Barton has scored one goal and created 46 chances, while having a pass accuracy of 75% and winning nine of the 13 dribbles he has attempted.

However, Barton has won just 33 of the 111 tackles he has attempted this season and has committed as many as 64 fouls.

Rangers are currently second from bottom in the Premier League table with 25 points from 31 matches, just three points behind 17th-placed Aston Villa.

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