Joey Barton believes Stephen Ward “brought a different dimension” to Burnley during their Championship winning season last year.
Former Irish international Kevin Kilbane revealed that the controversial midfielder heaped praise on Ward while working with Kilbane on Match of the Day 2 recently.
Ward, 31, is a first choice starter for club and country, and even got on the score sheet for Burnley in their recent win over Bournemouth.
“He (Barton) was very complimentary of you in particular because he was saying how the team changed when you came into the side at the back end of last season,” Kilbane told Ward on Off The Ball.
“You brought a different dimension, because Ben Mee was playing left back wasn’t he? And you came in took that spot and the team changed around you coming into the side, and in many respects that was how you went on and got promoted.
“And I’m not just saying that to you Wardy, he genuinely did say it.”
Barton has recently re-joined the Clarets after his brief and disastrous spell at Rangers, and Ward is glad to have the former Newcastle midfielder back at Turf Moor.
“He was great around the changing room, he was a real leader, to be honest if you ask any of the lads, I don’t know if we’d have gotten promoted without signing him.”
Barton may find himself competing with Jeff Hendrick for a starting role in Sean Dyche’s midfield.