Leeds linked Joey Barton praises Spurs' Harry Kane despite England Under-21s' Euro Failure

Joey Barton Marseille

The former QPR captain thought Tottenham hero Kane demonstrated one thing that most other young players have failed to this summer.

There were plenty of critics of England's national sides after the Under-21 side exited the European Under-21 Championships at the group stage for the third successive tournament, and predictably, former QPR and England midfielder Joey Barton was particularly outspoken in his comments when speaking to the BBC, even if he did have praise for one player.

Despite Gareth Southgate's side boasting the likes of Harry Kane and John Stones in their midst, England finished bottom of their group once again, further highlighting the problems the country has with impressing on an international level.

Barton, who has been linked with a switch to Leeds after leaving Loftus Road at the end of his contract this summer, pointed the finger at the fact the Premier League has developed to such an extent that young players who got called up to the England senior squad were put under pressure by their club to put their club careers first.

"There is a problem with the Premier League being a lot stronger than the Football Association," Barton told BBC Radio 5 live.

"It makes it impossible for England to build good teams.

"As some players get towards the top, they say: 'I'm too good for the 21s, because I've been in an England senior squad and I don't want to go to a tournament because I need to rest.'

"They're not available because they're saying 'it would be better for my career not to go to this tournament', or their managers at club level are saying 'we're not going to do that'."

Barton, who has one England cap, did have especially high praise though for Tottenham's Kane, who before the end of the season made a point of saying that he was eager to drop back down to the Under-21s for the tournament, despite impressing on his full England debut in March.

For Barton, there are far too few young players with an attitude like the Spurs striker, and the 32-year-old wanted to pinpoint a method in which to encourage youngsters to want to turn out at Under-21 tournaments again.

"How do we get these kids to say to their clubs, like Harry Kane did, 'I want to represent my country in a major competition at my age group, to prove that I'm one of the best young players in Europe'," Barton asked.

"It didn't happen in this tournament, but credit to him for going and putting himself out there.

"It would have been very easy for him to say 'I've had a phenomenal season, young player of the year, I'm going to Ibiza' like a lot of other players have.

"He deserves an enormous amount of credit because he's one of the few in my book who seemed genuinely proud to represent his country."

Barton's idea on how to encourage young players to make themselves available was to restrict their appearances in the senior side if they pulled out of squads.

"The FA should just say to them 'look, if you don't make yourselves eligible for an U21 campaign if you're selected, then you won't be considered for the national side for however many years'," he suggested.

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