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Magpies star keen to return to top form…

Former England international Joey Barton is targeting a return to the national team following Newcastle United’s promotion to the Premier League.

The Magpies midfielder has won just one cap for his country, appearing in a 1-0 friendly defeat to Spain in 2007.

Following England’s dismal display at the 2010 World Cup, Barton believes he can win his place back in the international setup and says he is as good as any player in England when he is on form.

"For me, first and foremost I want to do well for Newcastle United," Barton told the Evening Chronicle.

"But watching some of the performances in the World Cup over the summer I think that on form, I'm as good as anybody in this country.

"I don't say that lightly and I have to go out and prove that, but surely every midfielder in this country should be thinking like that? They should be looking at it and saying, 'That's where I want to be and that's where I can go'.

"That's my goal, and if I break into the England squad, it proves that I am doing fantastic for this football club.

"Firstly, I have to do well for Newcastle, though."

Barton endured an injury-hit 2009-11 season and hopes to show the Newcastle supporters that he is back to his best ahead of the new season.

"At the end of the day, I was an England international as a box-to-box midfield player," he added.

"I don't say this lightly, but I'm a much more rounded footballer now than I was when I first signed for this club. Injuries have restricted my chances to show that.

"If I can sustain fitness for a long period of time, I'm very confident of finding the form that got me in the England squad."

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