Paul Coutts may have played his last game for Bristol Rovers as Joey Barton hints at a new role

Joey Barton has indicated that Paul Coutts could, if he wanted to, join his coaching staff after all, but ruling out the Bristol Rovers captain for the rest of the season and admitting that the Scotsman may have to consider retiring.

Coutts has missed Rovers’ last three games with a knee injury and, after undergoing an MRI this week, could require an operation that will most likely end his contribution to the campaign.

With the Scotsman out of contract at the end of the season and due to a succession of knee problems and other injuries he has experienced, at the age of 34 and, according to Barton, having taken various painkillers daily for the last six years, you may have to call time on your run.

Coutts has made 61 appearances for Rovers since signing a free transfer last summer as one of Barton’s first signings for the club and was an integral and highly influential member of the League Two promotion campaign.

“Couttsy will possibly require surgery, so it could be the last time anyone sees him because now it’s going to be hard for him to get back into shape,” Barton said.

“He has to go see a specialist, but it looks like he’s gotten worse and his knees aren’t good anyway. The initial consultation, after the MRI, with the surgeon is that this might be too big an injury for him.

“He is approaching that stage of his career anyway, he has defied his medical examinations, certainly while he has worked with me at Fleetwood and here, he has defied what the reports suggest.

“But Father Time catches up with everyone and this knee injury that he has is on his good knee and we haven’t scanned the bad knee. But Couttsy would have had to be taking codeine and cocodamol, just to practice and play. So you can imagine over 4, 5, 6 years of doing that, the toll he takes on your physical and mental health.

“If you get a good return on that, in terms of you being able to present a good image of yourself on the pitch and not having too much bloat after games, that’s a price for all of us as players. No doubt, as you enter the later stages, you are willing to pay.

“But there’s a threshold that’s been crossed and I think Couttsy is sitting on top of that or is about to cross it.”

Having integrated Glenn Whelan into his coaching staff for this season, albeit with the Irish veteran making sporadic appearances in times of emergency, Barton admits he could bring Coutts into that backroom squad believing he’s tailored to his skill set. and personality.

Coutts is taking his UEFA A license this summer with the England FA as he increasingly focuses on that side of the game and ultimately plans for a life after football, albeit with this accelerated decision imminent. beyond your control.

However, geography, from Rovers’ perspective, is likely to play a role in their decision with their Aberdeen-based family.

“He is someone who has been a captain for me, a brilliant player, and I think he will be a great coach and a great addition to the coaching group,” Barton added. “So he has life after football, but I hope he can have a few more minutes… but it seems very unlikely.

“His wife and children are in Aberdeen, so he will no doubt sit down with them in the summer and discuss what is best for him.

“For me, I believe in the people who have done well and have given their all on the court, if I can I would like to help them start that next journey. Whelo is the first former player of mine to do that, Couttsy has been with me longer and captained in the Fleetwood days and a brilliant captain here. Also, I really think that his skill set, as a person, would be suitable for the secondary career.

“He’s been excellent and I’ll always try to create an opportunity for him if I can.”

Barton also confirmed that fellow midfielder Sam Finley has not recovered from the illness that has kept him out of Rovers’ last two games and will not play Portsmouth on Saturday. However, defender Luca Hoole has shown signs of recovery and, if he makes it to training on Friday, he could be part of Matchday 18.

REGISTER: To receive our free Rovers newsletter, with the latest from Mem



Leave a Reply