Newcastle United boss Sam Allardyce is confident of getting the best from Joey Barton.
Barton will be on the bench for Monday's clash with Tottenham and Allardyce told The Times: "He is almost a nuisance, but the right sort of nuisance, if you see what I mean. He is training 24/7 and he is always bothering and pestering the staff about what else can he do to maintain his fitness and improve his chances of coming back as quickly as he can. He is actually so into getting back into football that he persists in badgering the staff."
The midfield player has also been cajoling his new teammates, attending away fixtures even when hampered by crutches. "While being hugely frustrated, he has also been chirpy as hell," Allardyce said. "He has shown tremendous commitment, especially in his support for the rest of the team. That builds a really good spirit - you only have to look at the England rugby team to see what that means."
"Like every top actor, every very top player has standards at this level which affects them and, for whatever reason, they can lose control. Occasionally, in his younger days, that is where there has been a problem.
"But I think he has taken a lot of advice and spoken to a lot of people about it and is moving along the right way in that area. You cannot take the devil out of top players too much. Sir Alex [Ferguson, the Manchester United manager] used to talk about Roy Keane in that way. He was just as volatile as Joey Barton, if not more. You are hoping, with years of maturity, he gets over that."