Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has refused to condemn Joey Barton's latest outbursts and will hand him the captain's armband this weekend.
The Magpies travel to Aston Villa without suspended club captain Kevin Nolan with Barton having grabbed the headlines again this week following two unprovoked tirades.
Barton reiterated his opinion of himself as the best midfielder England have to offer and singled out Manchester City's Gareth Barry for particular criticism.
He also spoke out about his infamous clash with former Man City team-mate Ousmane Dabo, but Pardew will allow Barton to continue to speak his mind.
"I can't say that I agree with all of Joey's opinions, but they are his opinions and he is strong enough to express them," said the Newcastle manager.
"That's Joey. That's his opinion and I am not going to change his opinions.
"He will be the captain on Sunday of this football club and I expect him to carry that armband on to the pitch with discipline and a normal performance from Joey, if not perhaps better than that because he has got the armband."
Barton has just one England cap to his name and a series of high-profile off-field incidents have perhaps restricted him to a limited international career.
Pardew, though, agrees with Barton's claim that his form should earn a recall and has urged his player not to give up after another dominant display in their 4-1 drubbing of Wolves last weekend.
He said: "I couldn't disagree. In terms of performance, he was outstanding against Wolves again - he has been outstanding in most of the games since I have been manager and the games I have reviewed prior to me arriving.
"I can look at Scott Parker, and everybody thought it had passed him by and he wasn't going to get an England chance now, and then just last week, I was seeing our chief sportswriters telling me they are going to build the team around him and [Jack] Wilshere, so there's always an opportunity.
"Joey just needs to keep everything in place in terms of what he is doing right now, and then just hope he gets a call."
Villa Park is the scene on Sunday, and it was also the scene when Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League in 2009.
The Magpies went some way towards revenge for the defeat that day with a 6-0 hammering of Villa at St James' Park last August.
Pardew is aware both sides have their motives ahead of the meeting, with neither side entirely safe from relegation, and he has singled out Darren Bent as Villa's danger man.
"They were beaten heavily by us, so they will be fuelled, and we will be fuelled by what happened two years ago," said Pardew.
"You have got to concentrate 100 per cent playing against Darren Bent, and that's what my defenders are going to need to do."
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