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We wouldn’t blame Rangers supporters if they never wanted to hear Joey Barton’s scathing Scouse tones ever again. 

The Morrissey-loving, mischief-causing, one-time Ibrox man is about as unpopular as Scott Brown on the blue half of Glasgow; that disastrous six-month spell in royal blue going down in Gers folklore for all the wrong reasons. 

But with the Daily Record claiming that Rangers have tabled a bid for Fleetwood Town’s England U20 international James Hill, there is no one better than Barton to ask about a man handed his senior debut by the former Man City midfielder back in 2018, becoming the Cod Army’s youngest ever player in the process. 

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“If they’re good enough, we don’t care how old they are. He’s done really, really well in the games we’ve watched,” Barton said back in 2018 after a 16-year-old Hill came off the bench during a 4-0 EFL Cup defeat to Leicester City.  

“His voice has been really, really impressive from the back – I think he’s a natural leader. And he showed tonight, up against Demarai Gray who’s probably not a million miles away from getting an England call-up, he’s acquitted himself. 

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“He looked assured, he looked composed and he’s an absolute privilege to talk to. He’s got a great demeanour and he wants to be a player.” 

Could James Hill follow in Barton’s footsteps with a move to Rangers?

It was only after Barton left the Highbury Stadium in typically acrimonious circumstances earlier this year, however, that Hill really established himself as a first-team regular for the League One outfit.

The Bristol-born 19-year-old started 18 consecutive games during the back end of last season; his mature and meticulous performances catching plenty of eyes higher up the pyramid. 

According to the Record, Premier League giants Manchester United and Liverpool have scouted Hill this season.

Southampton and Burnley – another of Barton’s former clubs – have made offers of their own too, although Fleetwood owner Andy Pilley believes the teenager would be better off staying put and playing week in, week out against the likes of Wimbledon, Wigan and Wycombe. 

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