Barton Northern Ireland U-turn keeps the door open to others
Adam Barton has given a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ response to his call-up to the Northern Ireland squad.
The Preston North End midfielder was included in Nigel Worthington’s squad for the upcoming Euro 2012 qualifying double-header with Italy at Windsor Park and away to the Faroe Islands a few days later.
The 19-year-old, though, has decided to keep an open mind about his international future and concentrate on his fledgling club career.
However, it is believed that England and the Republic of Ireland have been keeping an eye on Barton’s progress.
The Blackburn-born youngster, who qualifies for Northern Ireland through the grandparent rule, admitted he was flattered by the call-up from Worthington but feels it would be more beneficial to him to remain focused on Preston, for whom he has made just 11 first team appearances.
“International football is the pinnacle of every footballer’s career and when I got the Northern Ireland call-up I was over the moon,” said Barton.
“Nigel Worthington is a manager I have a tremendous amount of respect for; he likes to play football the right way and it was thrilling to hear how keen he was for me to work with the Northern Ireland set-up.
“It was all the more exciting to receive this news bearing in mind the fact that I have only played a limited number of first team fixtures for Preston North End.
“However it is for this reason that I have decided on this occasion to notify Nigel and the Northern Ireland team management that I will not be available for selection.
“At this stage of my career I believe it would be beneficial to concentrate on my club career and push towards my goals for Preston North End.
“If at some point in the future I get selected to play for my country, at whatever level, it would obviously be something I would give great consideration to.”