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Newcastle's Barton could have been Oxford swat

Newcastle United's controversial midfielder Joey Barton could have been an Oxford scholar!

The man who signed Barton for Manchester City's academy, Barry Poynton, revealed to the club's website: "Joey and I go way back longer than I can remember.

"I've probably known Joe since he was nine and played in the same Everton youth team as Phil Jagielka. Within two weeks of me coming here in 1999 from Everton we got a call to say they'd released Joey Barton and I was astonished.

"Even then I thought Joey would play for England and what he's done, he's done for himself because he's always had one hell of a work ethic.

"I didn't realise how bright he was. His school thought he could have easily gone to University and the upper echelons of University maybe even Oxford or Cambridge."

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