QPR boss: Joey’s just like me

Neil Warnock is convinced he can handle Joey Barton – because the two men are so similar.

The temperamental midfielder’s move to QPR was confirmed on Friday – four weeks after Warnock told Barton he wanted to sign him once the takeover at Loftus Road went through.

Barton, who has agreed a four-year deal at Loftus Road, had been told he could leave Newcastle on a free transfer and was allowed to speak to other clubs, prompting the outspoken Rangers boss to immediately make contact.

Warnock said: “I know what people will say, but I like Joey. The thing about Joey is that he’s just like Neil Warnock.

“With people like us, we’ll admit we’re not always innocent and bring a lot on ourselves, but I still think as you get older you get more experience and you learn a lot.

“Yes, he’s a complicated character, but I think he’s far more intelligent than people give him credit for.

“You know you’re going to have moments with him, There’ll be moments ahead, but there will be with every talented player. With talented players there’s nothing straightforward about any of them, really.

“When the situation at Newcastle developed, Joey knew straightaway that I wanted him.”

“I look at the plusses rather than the minuses, as I do with Adel Taarabt – he does your head in if you look at all the minuses.

“I will be asking Joey to conform in certain ways, but I want to take what he’s got and I think you’ll lose parts of him if you ask him to be too restricted.”

Barton joined Newcastle from Manchester City for £5.8m in 2007 and has one England cap.

He was told he had no future at St James’ Park after angering the Magpies hierarchy by airing his frustration on Twitter when contract talks broke down.

The Liverpudlian is no stranger to controversy, having served a six-month ban from football and a 77-day prison sentence for assault.

He later clashed with former manager Alan Shearer and was suspended, but returned to play a key role in Newcastle’s promotion back to the top flight in 2010 and 12th-placed finish last season.

Warnock acknowledges that many will see his linking up with the player as a disaster waiting to happen – which was part of the reason he wanted to sign him.

“When people tell me that I can’t do something, it makes me want to do it,” he explained.

“When the situation at Newcastle developed, Joey knew straightaway I wanted him. He knew that from the first day the guys here took over, I’d be in for him.

Warnock is chasing several other transfer targets

“He appreciated that and I think he’ll do very well for us. He’ll get the freedom and we’ll get his drive. He’s a natural captain whether he’s wearing the armband or not.

“I’m sure there’ll be people that think it’s a marriage made in hell, but they thought that when I went to Crystal Palace with Simon Jordan.”

Barton’s ability has never been in doubt, but his reputation has clearly affected both his club and international prospects.

He was desperate to stay at Newcastle and eventually signed for Rangers when it was obvious none of the country’s top clubs were willing to take a chance on him.

Warnock added: “You never lose that baggage. But if he didn’t have that baggage, there’s no way I’d be able to even think I could get an opportunity to sign him for QPR.

“Joey without a doubt should be playing for Arsenal, Tottenham, you name it. He’s got that to carry around with him – knowing that he really should be at a top club and should be an England player.

“You’ve got to conform to be an England player and he’s fallen short of that at times. But when the opportunity comes for me to sign Joey Barton, I’m not going to turn it down.”