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Barton offers help to goal hero Carroll

Joey Barton has vowed to put his arm around Andy Carroll in an attempt to prevent the Newcastle striker from repeating the controversies which have dogged the midfielder's career.

Newcastle top scorer Carroll will appear in court today to answer a charge of assault against team-mate Steven Taylor less than 48 hours after heading the winner in the Magpies' 2-1 victory over West Ham which left the Hammers rooted to the bottom of the table.

The appearance will be the striker's second in court in a matter of days after he was handed a separate charge of assaulting his ex-girlfriend last weekend -- something which he denies. Barton, once touted as a potential England regular, has seen his career tarnished by several off-field incidents since he came through the youth ranks at Manchester City. Barton now appears to have drawn a line under his controversial past and is keen to do all he can to make sure that 21-year-old Carroll makes the most of his promising career.

"If Andy wants any advice then he knows where I am. I've been in his shoes," said Barton. "My reputation hindered me for a long time and I will try and to stop him from going down that path."

Irish Independent