Joey Barton: 'Wayne Rooney is a top player, but not world class'

England's Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring against Poland on October 15, 2013
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Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton believes that Wayne Rooney is England's "best player", but does not consider the striker as world class.

Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton has explained his recent comments about Wayne Rooney by insisting that the Manchester United striker is a "top player", but does not qualify as world class.

The former Newcastle United player described Rooney and Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo as "polar opposites" while discussing England's World Cup prospects in a recent interview.

The 31-year-old clarified his comments on Twitter by saying: "Rooney is our best player at the moment. Put in context for me, by my definition of 'World Class', he isn't. I'm sorry thats my belief.

"He is infinitely better than me. That is not the debate here. But I was never World Class, so people are missing the point. Now shall I tell you what World Class is for me. Ronaldo and Messi. Iniesta and Suarez. WC is a term thrown about far too often. Maybe Wayne was has been in WC bracket before. I would have to say now he isn't.

"Why? Well it isn't for the lack of talent IMO. I would have to argue that he has not been better since he broke on the scene at Everton. For me thats when he stopped developing or just afterwards. As I say, he is a top player. My favourite of the current bunch. Love watching him. Old school. But not World Class IMO."

England will begin their World Cup campaign in Brazil this summer with a group clash against Italy on June 14.

Queens Park Rangers' Joey Barton in action during the match against Sheffield Wednesday on August 3, 2013
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