Sam Vokes surprised by Joey Barton's decision to leave Burnley for Rangers
Published 26/05/2016 | 22:36
Sam Vokes has expressed surprise that Joey Barton gave up another shot at the Barclays Premier League to join Rangers.
Barton helped Burnley to the Sky Bet Championship title this season and an instant return to the top flight.
But he turned down a lucrative 12-month deal to stay at Turf Moor, and has instead headed to Scotland to join Rangers on a two-year contract.
"I'm gutted that Joey has gone," said Vokes, who scored 15 league goals for the Clarets this season.
"I was a bit surprised too because he was a big part of the squad and a key figure for us on and off the pitch.
"He was good around the place, even when we had a sticky patch around Christmas he was a great leader in the dressing room."
Barton has had plenty of controversial moments in a career which has also taken in Manchester City, Newcastle, QPR and Marseille.
But Wales striker Vokes insisted that the 33-year-old midfielder was a calming presence in the Burnley dressing room.
"People spoke about his reputation before he came in, but I didn't see that at all," said Vokes at Wales' pre-Euro 2016 training camp in Portugal.
"I'm sure he will go up to Scotland and have a good crack at it.
"He was a big part of what we did, but he's made that decision and he'll go up there with the same energy that he had for us."
On Burnley's challenge next season, Vokes added: "The club is in a lot better position on the financial side after coming out of the Premier League the last time.
"A few lads have signed new contracts and that shows the stability of the club and their intentions.
"The manager (Sean Dyche) has been a massive part of the club's success over the last three or four years.
"I think he'll bring in a few players this summer and the club will have a go.
"We've got a stable group, but he will look to add a bit of quality."