Comment: ‘Barcelona’ Barton too cultured for Pompey battle

Adam Barton left Pompey for Partick Thistle last month   Picture: Joe Pepler

Adam Barton left Pompey for Partick Thistle last month Picture: Joe Pepler

The Pompey players celebrate winning the League Two title on the final day of the 2016-17 season following their 6-1 win against Cheltenham Picture: Joe Pepler

Gallen: Let’s carry momentum of Pompey title win into opener

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Hi fellow Pompey fans, my name is Ben Sturt.

I’m 17 years old and I’ve been a season-ticket holder in the Fratton end for as long as I can remember.

I am also the youngest member of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust’s Next Generations group, which tackles all issues that may concern younger Pompey fans.

I hope you enjoy my weekly column in the Sports Mail, describing the goings on at our club through the eyes of a younger supporter.

In an unexpected transfer deadline day twist, Adam Barton left for Partick Thistle in Scotland for an undisclosed fee.

The midfielder turned centre-back rightly jumped at the opportunity of a three-year contract north of the border.

His departure allowed time for reflection on what I believe to be one of the best individual performances from a Pompey play that I’ve seen.

Barton’s undoubted best day in a Pompey shirt was last season’s FA Cup third-round game against Ipswich Town at Portman Road.

If I recall correctly, this was the first time he’d played in his newly-adopted centre-back role alongside Adam Webster.

Considering this, I don’t think I’ve seen a more composed performance from a Blues player – maybe only trumped by Kanu who strolled around the pitch, in a good way.

Barton was spraying the ball around with ease, coming out of defence to bring the ball forward, taking on their attackers in one-on-one situations and skilfully evading them with countless step-overs and turns.

That was a great day out but Barton stood out especially, what class and control he had.

I mean it when I say he could have slotted in nicely alongside Gerard Pique at the heart of Barcelona’s defence playing like that – he didn’t put a foot wrong.

Although he held his own in future games at centre-half, Barton got caught out too many times against bashful League Two attacks, and was brushed aside too often.

This, alongside with the fact he probably wanted to play in his preferred midfield role made the decision quite easy to let him go.

Barton was our most cultured player, but maybe that was part of the problem.

I have no doubt he will be a success in Scotland, and that he could comfortably play at a higher level, but he wasn’t equipped for League Two.

We’ve now had time to take a closer look at our new signings and its clear to me that Paul Cook has gone for a slightly different recruitment angle.

As brilliant on the ball as Barton was, getting involved in the dirty side of the game was not his thing, but, it certainly is Tom Davies’, Danny Rose’s and Curtis Main’s game.

Have Pompey finally discovered their ruthless edge?

Kyle Bennett was subject to interest from Ipswich Town but a move did not materialise.

Despite this, he is struggling to make the squad at the moment.

He is a top player and again more than capable of playing at a higher level, but does he face a similar situation to that of Barton?

Maybe, but then again maybe not, we all know when he’s sharp and nifty on the edge of the box, Bennett is always a threat.

These are the fantastic dilemmas you have with a large and talented squad.

I was a big admirer of Barton’s game and will never forget that Spanish defender like performance at Portman Road.

But we were correct to take the money and allow a superb footballer to put his stamp on the Scottish game.

And with that, I wish Barton all the best.

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