Joey delighted by England call-up

Last updated : 04 February 2007 By Ben Collins
The 24-year-old has been City's star performer this season, putting himself in contention for a first senior call-up.

England coach Steve McClaren named Barton amongst a list of players he'd be keeping a close eye on over Christmas and Joey did enough to make it into a 28-man squad for Wednesday's friendly against Spain across town at Old Trafford.

Micah Richards remains in the squad after making an impressive debut against Holland in England's last friendly.

"I was nervous with the anticipation of whether or not I'd be in it because this was the first squad that I would really have been disappointed to miss out on," said Joey, who played twice for the Under-21s.

"Thankfully I was picked and I've been given the opportunity to show what I can do."

Barton offended some England regulars after critcising the fact they brought books out after a disappointing performance at the World Cup, and knows he faces a tough job to get picked ahead of them.

"I'm going to go there and try to acquit myself as best I can, that's all that I can do," he added. "There are world-class players ahead of me but I have the chance to prove what I can do.

"I'm not saying I'm world class, you don't just suddenly get to become a world beater overnight, and it's a slow process. I'm at the bottom of the ladder but I'm looking forward to start climbing it."

City boss Stuart Pearce believes Barton has a good chance of starting against Spain.

"He's playing extremely well," he said. "There's a lot of competition in central midfield but on current form he is doing as well as most.

"I think he is getting better by the game. He's maturing as a man, and certainly as a footballer."

Other City players to receive international call-ups are Richard Dunne and Stephen Ireland for the Republic of Ireland, Georgios Samaras for Greece, DaMarcus Beasley for the USA and Andreas Isaksson for Sweden.