Joey Barton has warned goalkeeper James Belshaw that he may never play for Bristol Rovers again unless his attitude improves after the reigning Player of the Year was left out of the matchday team against Ipswich Town.
Belshaw lost his place to Brentford loan Ellery Balcombe four games ago and although he was included in the squads against Morecambe and Lincoln City, he missed the game against MK Dons with a rib injury which required an injection.
Part of Balcombe’s loan deal with Brentford, with Rovers securing the 23-year-old after an impressive first half of the season at Crawley Town, included a clause saying he had to start the first three games of his northern spell. of Bristol or Gas would be required to pay a fee.
The Ipswich game therefore represented the end of that deal with Belshaw therefore back in contention to be part of the starting XI. Except his place on Matchday 18 at the Mem was taken by Anssi Jaakkola and Barton explained that the decision to skip Belshaw was down to his performance in training on Monday.
“James was disappointed when we named the team yesterday, then it affected his training performance and his attitude was not at the level you would expect if you are a Bristol Rovers player,” Barton said, after the 0-0 draw. draw with the Tractor Boys.
“He’s been great for us, Belly, a very good citizen and a great goalkeeper for us, but no one is bigger than our team and football club.
“We have a lot of good players here, more than 11 good players, sometimes people are going to be on the bench or not in the starting XI and they have to put that frustration and emotion aside and support the man in the shirt.
“After the game has taken place, come and talk at the manager’s door for the reasons, but you can’t let that affect your training performance because you become an energy sapper and drag the group down.
“Belly has had the night off and if his attitude and training performance don’t change, it will be the last anyone sees him in the quarterfinals.”
Balcombe enjoyed his best game in the Gas jersey, making two key first-half saves and showing great drive and willingness to attack a series of Ipswich crosses as the Tractor Boys engineered 21 shots on goal for Rovers.
It was the team’s first clean sheet since Dec. 10, 11 games ago, and helped stem the flow of four straight losses.
The 23-year-old finds himself in a challenging situation, not only experiencing a first season in League One in a team struggling for form, but also replacing a fan favorite in Belshaw with fans who continue to chant his name to despite his absence from the team. .
“I had it for a couple of minutes, two guys behind me chanting Belly’s name,” Barton added. “I’m riding the wave of excitement with the team and you have to have big balls to make big calls that you think are the right ones for your group.
“If I were a coach who listened to what the fans were singing, I might as well let them take the hot seat and get the job done and there will be many times in my coaching career that people will disagree with my team selections.
“I am one of the few professionals where everyone is an expert in my job. Sometimes I go and read the comments when the starting XI is announced and everyone has their bit to contribute, and that’s why I love the soccer”. and it’s bright
“My job as custodian of the football club is to keep it moving forward and in the right direction. Sometimes to do that, you have to upset the apple cart and get away from some people’s favorites. We wanted to create competition in the goalkeeping area, we’ve brought in a good goalkeeper, as you can see from Ellery’s performance tonight, and we hope they all meet the challenge head on.
“Belly, you’ll be better for it, but we can’t have sad faces and that affects our team before we play a massive game and you root for the man in the jersey; in our culture, it’s the team over yourself. If you don’t, don’t.” accept, there are 91 other clubs in the football pyramid that you can play for.
“If we’re going to succeed here, it’s as a united group that withstands adversity.”
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