Barton backs Austin for England call-up

Joey Barton insists his QPR team-mate Charlie Austin would be a better choice for England than Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert.

Lambert, 32, was included in the squad for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia despite having not scored since moving to Anfield in the summer – and having only started one game this season.

Austin, 25, has scored six goals this term and England boss Roy Hodgson saw him in action at Loftus Road against Manchester City on Saturday.

Soccer - Pre-season Friendly - Leyton Orient v Queens Park Rangers - Matchroom Stadium

“He’s a natural goalscorer. Whatever level he does it at, it doesn’t faze him.”

Barton on Austin

Barton, a lifelong Everton fan, previously questioned Liverpool’s decision to sign Lambert from Southampton.

And the R’s midfielder believes Lambert does not deserve to be selected ahead of Austin.

“He [Austin] has been playing really well of late,” said Barton.

“It sounds like I’m going to slate Rickie Lambert again, but I’m not.

“I just think that if you’re not playing for Liverpool, who can’t hit a cow’s a*** with a banjo at the minute in terms of their frontline, and you can’t get a game for them, how do you get in the England squad?”

Austin was playing for non-League Poole Town just over five years ago, and after prolific spells at Swindon and then Burnley he scored 19 Championship goals for Rangers last season.

And the former bricklayer has already made an impact in the top flight.

Austin’s first-half strike against City was his fourth goal in three games and came after he had two goals disallowed.

Rangers fought hard and were unlucky not to beat City

QPR v Man City player ratings

“He could have had four or five goals – every time, he’s hit the target,” Barton added.

“I’m delighted. I’ve got him in my fantasy football team. I’ve been on at him in recent weeks because he wasn’t getting me a load of points, but he’s started to weigh in recently.

“My mates are all on WhatsApp in a group together and before the Villa game were giving a lot of stick, saying ‘Come on, it’s time he scored’ and they took him out of their teams.

“But I kept faith with him and he’s produced. He’s a natural goalscorer. Whatever level he does it at, it doesn’t faze him.

“He’s scored goals all the way from Poole Town to the Premier League and he looks a real threat in the box.

“It’s no coincidence he gets that many chances, because his movement’s so good. We’re very fortunate to have him.”

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