Graeme Souness wants Rangers to forgive 'charming' Joey Barton

Their former manager has urged Rangers to broker a peace deal with suspended star.
Graeme Souness wants Rangers to forgive 'charming' Joey Barton

The former Ibrox boss is concerned by the state his old side currently find themselves in after they suffered their latest setback at Pittodrie on Sunday.

The 2-1 defeat to Aberdeen means Mark Warburton's team have picked up just nine points from their opening seven Ladbrokes Premiership fixtures, leaving them languishing in seventh.

Yet former Manchester City, Newcastle and QPR battler Barton remains an outcast in Govan after being handed a club suspension following a heated training-ground bust-up with his manager and team-mate Andy Halliday.

The controversial 34-year-old - reportedly earning more than £20,000 a week - has said consistently since being banished from the club that he has no plans to quit Ibrox and Souness reckons he could still offer the Light Blues the kind of experience they will need to turn around their flailing fortunes.

He said: "Joey has played at a high level, he's played in the Premier League. We were doing some TV work for the Euros together in Dublin during the summer. When he spoke about football he was very, very knowledgeable.

"He spoke very well and he expressed his real desire to be a coach or a manager one day. He is 34, you would like to think he is in a position now where he is capable of helping some of the young guys that he is playing with.

"Rangers do have a young team and they would need that help from senior players.

"I am a great believer in football clubs, you've only got a chance of doing well when you have good senior pros.

"Do I hope it does get resolved? Most certainly because he has something to offer. He has something to offer football."

Souness was no stranger to confrontation himself during his days as Gers' head-strong player/manager in the late 1980s but believes if Barton is to rejoin Warburton's squad, the former England midfielder will have to learn to toe the line.

The ex-Scotland captain said: "I can't comment on what happened because I don't know.

"I have met Joey and I have found him to be charming, intelligent, a football nut and I know he was desperate to come here and do well.

"But somehow he has got himself into this predicament and I like to think that the manager, who seems to be a calm and level-headed human being, will resolve it and get the best out of Joey Barton because he certainly still has a lot to offer Rangers in terms of playing football.

"But it has to be on the manager's terms - not on Joey's."

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