Joey Barton made the perfect start to his second stint with Burnley and quickly vowed to repay manager Sean Dyche’s faith in him by performing on the field.
Barton came off the bench in Saturday’s home tussle with Southampton in the second half and duly netted the only goal of the game when his 25-yard free-kick was deflected beyond Fraser Forster in the Saints goal.
It was Barton’s first Premier League appearance since May 2015 and marked the perfect return to Turf Moor.
The 34-year-old was Burnley’s Player of the Year last season as he helped the Clarets secure a Premier League return while winning the Championship title.
In the summer, he decided he wanted a new challenge and left the club to join Scottish Premiership side Rangers.
His time in Scotland unravelled after he had a training ground row with teammates and manager Mark Warburton in the wake of Rangers 5-1 thumping at the hands of Celtic in the first Glasgow derby of the season.
Barton was suspended and later left the club by mutual consent. He has been training with Burnley since mid-November and Dyche handed him a short-term contract this month that sees him back on the books until the end of the season.
Admitting that it is sometimes ‘like a circus follows him’ Barton said he is determined to show Dyche he has made the correct decision in giving him a second chance.
“It was an incredible thing for him to bring me back – to what he did and the circus that goes on around me,” said Barton following the win over Southampton.
“Hopefully displays in the coming weeks will repay that faith.” Burnley travel to Arsenal next Sunday, a game the Clarets are 12.00 to win.