Former Manchester City player Joey Barton has criticised the club’s manager Pep Guardiola for his treatment of goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Guardiola has opted to drop the England goalkeeper in favour of backup Willy Caballero in both of City’s competitive games so far this season, a decision which has infuriated Barton.
Hart was in poor form for England at Euro 2016 but it is widely believed Guardiola has opted for Caballero in his stead owing to the latter’s superior ability with his feet. A hallmark of Guardiola’s sides are that his teams play the ball out from the back.
‘It is disgusting,’ Barton told talkSPORT. ‘It is not the club I left. The club I left and watch now are two totally different organisations.
‘The club I played for wouldn’t have treated a player that had been a servant for as long as Joe has in the manner that it has.’
Barton, now with Rangers, spend a decade with City before leaving the club in 2007.
‘I don’t see what he has done wrong to be treated the way he has. His attitude isn’t terrible. I don’t like this. I’ve watched Caballero and are you telling me Caballero is better with his feet than Joe Hart? I haven’t seen it.’
‘Why not let him fight for his place and then if he is not good enough say: “I have given him an opportunity”. That’s what every manager should do, give everyone an opportunity.’
Guardiola had told the press he expected Hart to fight for his place at the club but the 29-year-old has since been linked with loan deals to the likes of Everton and Sevilla.
Hart made 35 appearances for City in the Premier League last season.