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Joey Barton tips League One star to become future England player with an “enormous future”

Manager Joey Barton tips League One star Josh Coburn to become a future England player with an “enormous future” ahead of him.

The 20 year old forward is currently out on a season-long loan with Bristol Rovers, from Championship side Middlesbrough this summer.

He has so far made 10 league appearances and scored five goals for the club, and it wouldn’t be surprising if a number of other clubs are watching on impressed with how the youngster has been developing.

“For 20, you’ll struggle to see someone come into League One and handle the game at the level that he does,” Barton said.

“I’ve said it many times before I think he’s a real talent, Middlesbrough have got a fantastic prospect on their hands and we’re proud and privileged to have him in our team and he’s grown from the regular rhythm of games. You can see his performances growing week by week and again he was head and shoulders the quality player on the pitch.

“When you watch him play, it’s just the things he does – his composure, his touch and he’s very much baby faced. If you saw a snapshot of his head you’d think he’s only 14 but he’s got that frame, but it’s not just that, it’s the way he uses it.

“Josh is a huge player in our team. But I think he has an enormous future out in front of him if he gets a little bit of luck with injuries, I think he could go on to play for England.

“For someone of that size, his athleticism, the way he goes looking for work; it’s just me saying this, so I’m not comparing him to this player but there’s a few strikers who you play against over the course of your journey as a player who do things differently.

“I always remember playing against Zlatan Ibrahimovic and he went looking for physicality with the opposition centre-half and very rarely do you see forwards doing that, unless they’re the big bent nosed, physical centre-forward. Josh has got that level of looking for physicality but he’s got a real touch of class about him. It’s a rare combination.”

Coburn didn’t make his first appearance for the Pirates until the start of October because of a knee injury he picked up playing for Middlesbrough on the first day of the season.

However, he’s since become a regular starter as the team stretched their unbeaten run in the third tier to four matches and moved up to 12th in the table with Saturday’s victory against Port Vale.

Coburn came through Middlesbrough’s academy in 2019 after five years with Sunderland youth teams and made his first-team debut in April 2021, going on to score his first goal for Boro in his second appearance for the club, and as can be seen above, scored the winning header against Tottenham to send his side into last season’s FA Cup quarter-finals.

“He’s grown for the regular rhythm of games, you can see his performance has grown week-by-week and again [on Saturday], he was head and shoulders the quality player on the pitch,” Barton added.

“When you watch him play, just the things he does; his composure, his touch. But he’s got that frame and it’s not just that, it’s the way that he uses it, strikers usually don’t bed down until they’re 25 or 26 and they understand where the body is in time and space.”

In November, Bristol Rovers coach Andy Mangan backed him to have a ‘fantastic career’.

He said of Coburn after scoring is fourth goal of the campaign in a 2-2 draw against Fleetwood: “He is only 19, he is so young, he is still learning the game, he has come in and has contributed straight away. He is a fantastic kid, always wanting to learn, learn the dark arts of football. That’s the reason he is here, and he will go on to have a fantastic career.”


Sat 8 Oct 2022 – Bristol Rovers 2-1 Cambridge – 1 goal
Sat 22 Oct 2022 – Bristol Rovers 2-2 Plymouth – 1 goal
Wed 26 Oct 2022 – Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Bristol Rovers – 1 goal
Sat 12 Nov 2022 – Bristol Rovers 2-2 Fleetwood – 1 goal
Fri 2 Dec 2022 – Bolton 1-1 Bristol Rovers – 1 goal

This is what fans said as Joey Barton tips the League One star to become a future England player with an “enormous future”…

@MrPessimistic69: He should have been getting his games at Boro.

@Banouby: The Teesside Haaland is doing the business in League One it seems.

@BraithMark: Great to see young player grasping the opportunity, gaining experience in a tough, physical league and impressing everyone with form. Boro academy is excellent, our club is loving in the right direction again on and off the pitch. #utb

@boroboy151: Recalled next month then!

@Jamie_Mcgowan: What price would you give me for Josh Coburn to play for England before age 25 @SkyBet @RequestABet

@HasellRich: Banging them in for the Gas. We’re privileged to have him.UTG

Neil Casey: Great to see the lad doing so well. I don’t particularly like Barton, but he seems to be doing well with young Josh so credit to him as well. 👌

Martin Stockton: Totally agree. Let’s see him in the first team next season #boro

Brian Baine: Can’t wait to see how Carrick coaches Coburn the kid has a big future for Boro

Davey Gee: I love Joey’s comments about him. I think he may be ready for us in the first team? I’d seriously consider recalling him in Jan. Maybe foss swaps places?

Seb Hurcombe: We are lucky to have him at Rovers as he is too good for League 1 really. I dont know much about Forss, Akpom or any of Boro’s other strikers, but surely Coburn should be getting a good number of first team games next season.

Paul Barfoot: Calm down. Curtis Main was called the next Rooney, Marinelli the next Maradona

Daniel Newton: Comes across like Barton is just the right manager for him at this stage in his career. Great to see him getting a season playing week in week out, but I honestly think he could/should be doing it with us 👍

Ro Bhatt: Let’s not overhype him Already he’s scoring goals in league one. Give him a full season next year and see where he goes.

Dave Griffiths: Another youngster Joey is taking to the next level.. 👏🏻👏🏻

Mandy Cheesley: Amazing team spirit and determination 👏

Gas Man: So true. Maturing very quickly and now winning headers! His positioning is superb; so quick to support and chase as well as being there for any chances! Building a great partnership with Collins! Two very similar players with deceptive pace! Keep going! Love watching you play from game 1! UTG

Brian Dunn: If we keep bullying him up they take him back in January, if you read there fan site The majority want him back rather than spending more money on other strikers

Paul Davis: Tbf Coburn is like fine wine…tastes good and is class every week. Hardly ever has a bad game..

Roge Dodge: Solid team performance, eleven players with one common objective today

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