Controversial Queens Park Rangers captain Joey Barton has questioned Fabio Capello's decision not to include Manchester City defender Micah Richards in his England squad to face Spain and Sweden.
The Eastlands defender has been one of the most impressive young players in an emerging crop of English talent in the Premier League this season, but was mysteriously overlooked in favour of Liverpool's Glen Johnson and Tottenham Hotspurs' Kyle Walker, despite being in the Italian's last three squads and very much in form.
Richards was man-of-the-match during Manchester City's destruction of their bitter rivals Manchester United last month, and has thrived under Roberto Mancini's management style.
With the Eastlands' club five points clear at the summit of the Premier League, QPR talisman Joey Barton, a former Manchester City teammate of Richards, believes the 23-year-old merited inclusion.
"I felt Micah was unlucky. He's been one of the solid England players and he did fantastically against Manchester United." The midfielder told The Sun.
The outspoken 29-year-old also believes Newcastle United's unbeaten start to the Premier League, which has been founded on a solid defence, suggested Steven Taylor and Danny Simpson were unfortunate to get the recognition from Capello.
"Newcastle have had a fantastic start to the season but no one like Steven or Danny can get in the squad." He continued. "I'm not here to pick the England team, I was just surprised there are players in there who are struggling for form.
"We're playing Spain and Sweden. If you're not playing well you will be found out.
"Capello is paid £6million a year to get it right. Let's hope he does."