Joey Barton has been talking about Newcastle United’s promotion drive, which has struggled to get going so far.

The now Rangers midfielder, was part of the NUFC squad that won promotion in 2010 and he has compared the Newcastle United squads/situations of 2009/10 and 2016/17.

Joey Barton says that the current squad ‘lack stuff that we had’ (in 2009/10).

Interestingly, Barton actually only started eight matches in that Newcastle promotion season, with only seven appearances from the bench, the midfielder having easily his best (only?) season the following year when United returned to the Premier League.

Coming back to the present day, Joey Barton is surprised Newcastle haven’t done better so far after splashing the cash this summer, though he believes he has identified a major issue holding them back.

Barton saying he doesn’t see a leader in the Newcastle dressing room to match what they had in that last promotion campaign, saying they are missing a Kevin Nolan.

Interesting that, both in terms of not seeing Jamaal Lascelles as ideal for the job, and the fact that he references Kevin Nolan.

His memory not quite up to the standard as it was actually Alan Smith who was NUFC club captain and leader in 2009/10, Nolan wasn’t even vice-captain, that honour going to Nicky Butt who filled in when Smith was injured that season on 13 occasions.

Meanwhile, Kevin Nolan was third choice and captained Newcastle 11 times in 2009/10, with even Steven Taylor getting the honour in one other game.

It was actually the following (2010/11) season when Kevin Nolan became club captain, doing a excellent job as he helped Newcastle stabilise in the Premier League, despite Mike Ashley sacking Chris Hughton when United were in mid-table.

As for 22 year old Jamaal Lascelles, he has age on his side, but needs to sort his own form out before he needs to worry about leadership issues.

Joey Barton speaking on Talksport:

“The money that they have spent, I thought they (Newcastle) were going to be up there.

“They lack stuff that we (2009/10 promotion team) had, we had a great captain and I don’t think they have that.

“When you look around the dressing room, they look a bit ‘milky’ – I don’t think they are going to knuckle down and dig deep.

“You need that dressing room to be strong and you need real leadership within the group – we had that and I don’t see a Kevin Nolan in that dressing room.

“I don’t see a leader of his quality, so for that reason it is not going to be a cakewalk that I think everyone expected.”