JOEY BARTON last night launched a bizarre Twitter attack on former Irish midfielder Matt Holland, which he then extended to players born in England who declared for Ireland under the grandparent rule.
The QPR midfielder seems to have taken exception to critical comments made by Holland on Talksport, and responded with a series of angry tweets.
"Tell him to pipe down. If he was relevant, I'd probably give him a bit. Trying to keep his face in, has to talk about someone," said Barton. "Sh*t players talking sh*t" the bain of my life. Go and live life away from football, stop being so bitter, twisted and sad. Its boring.
He then continued by discussing the issue of players like Holland who declared for Ireland relatively late in their careers. The ex-Ipswich man made his Irish debut as a 25-year-old.
"If you're English, you play for England. If you're English and sh*t you pretend your Irish grandparentage matters to you and you play for Ireland. I'd rather have my one English cap and be yearning forever more than take somebody from that countries' chance away because my nan's from their."
Barton's comments were met with a backlash, including a significant amount from Irish users. At which point he said he would not be tweeting for a week.
"Can I just you say you could substitute the word 'Irish' in my nationality statements with any of the home countries. Nothing against the Irish," he said, before adding, "Right. Am off. Might have a little sabbatical from Twitter for a while. Am going to abstain for a week."