Barton: Beckham not a big worry

The two midfielders could face each other if the 37-year-old makes his Paris Saint-Germain bow against Marseille, with the on-loan QPR man confident of keeping him quiet

Joey Barton is confident his Marseille side can contain David Beckham should the veteran midfielder make his Paris Saint-Germain debut on Sunday.

Beckham completed a short-term move to the current Ligue 1 leaders in January but has yet to feature from the club after being short of match fitness.

However, with PSG losing 3-2 at the weekend, Beckham is speculated to make his bow against title rivals Marseille, but Barton - on loan from QPR - believes his current team can keep the ex-England man quiet.

"As big a star as Beckham is off the pitch, he's one of the one's that realistically doesn't put the fear of God into you any more, like he used to, when he played in the Premier League," he told reporters.

"No disrespect to him, but if he does manage to play for Paris, he'll not be the main concern for us as a defensive unit. Paris have got some wonderfully gifted players and it would be naive of us to focus that on David Beckham.

"If you asked an Englishman, I'm probably the exact opposite of everything that David Beckham is. But that doesn't worry me.

"Actually, I see it as a massive compliment. Beckham's his own man and I'm my own man. What the media make of it is what the media make of it. It doesn't define you as a person.

"It'd be great if they wrote a load of positive stuff about you, the way the do about 'Brand Beckham', but that's not my way. I don't envy his position or the amount of media intrusion he has in his life on a daily basis.

"For me, I'm quite happy with the hand I've got at the minute and fair play to David if he and his family enjoy that."

Looking ahead to the game, Barton said he was looking forward to featuring in his first Classique, but does not expect to beat intimidated by the atmosphere in the ground.

"I've experienced Manchester City-Manchester United, Sunderland-Newcastle and QPR-Chelsea. The electric atmosphere doesn't worry me, it's even the norm for me. I am experienced, I know the score. There's nothing me for me in a derby.

"It's a derby game for all, not geographically speaking, but in football terms it's the biggest game in France. It's probably the biggest game in Europe next weekend so, yeah, I think this football club's looking forward to it and I'm certainly looking forward to my first Classique.

"The season has already given a lot of surprises and twists. And we're not the types to give up. Nor are [second-placed] Lyon. We remain motivated and concentrated even if we haven't been very strong in recent matches. This week could change our season."

The two sides meet again in the Coupe de France quarter-finals on February 27, and Barton is aware that a positive result both games will go some way to defining Marseille’s achievements this season.

He added: "If we win on Sunday and go through on Wednesday, everything changes.

"The pressure will be on Paris. Even without superstars like at PSG, we are solid and when we play like a team, we play well."