Joey Barton, Nicklas Bendtner And The Inflated Ego XI

Joey Barton and Nicklas Bendtner could be on their way to Stoke City. Why doesn't Tony Pulis go the whole hog and sign this lot too.
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Rumour has it, Joey Barton and Nicklas Bendtner are on their way to Stoke City. A couple of seasons ago, Tony Pulis fell out with James Beattie and Dave Kitson because they thought they were big time, so quite how the Potters will deal with these two ‘personalities’ remains to be seen. The agreeable chaps might think they should be in Fifa’s team of the year but they’re better suited to represent our Ego XI.

Goalkeeper – Jens Lehman

Whether it’s arguing with ball boys, urinating on the pitch, fighting with his own players or throwing an opposition players boot onto the roof of the net, Mad Jens always wanted to be centre of attention. A man whose self-belief made him impervious to criticism doesn’t know what all the fuss is about saying, "In 20 years I never seriously injured a player and that I again have to deal with cheap comments by people who think they can make the headlines by using my name". At the age of 41, the recently retired stopper probably still thinks he’s Arsenal’s best goalkeeper. He could have a point.

Ego Rating: Sir Alan Sugar The only company line he toes is his own. Also fond of making workmates feel uncomfortable.

Defence – Gary Neville

It wasn’t Neville G’s utterances that made you want to stick his ego up his a-hole. It’s the fact he was the living embodiment of Manchester United’s dominance of the Premier League era. All pigeon chest and rubbish ‘tash, Gaz Nev carried himself as if he and Man United had a divine right to win. The fact they always did, made it even more annoying.

Ego Rating: Heather McCartney-Mills The annoying face of a juggernaut success. Now split, they seem to be on telly more now than when they were together.

Did you know the Danish phrase, ‘to do a Bendtner’ was coined for the rare occasion someone taking a self-perceived competency exam scores so high the I-think-I’m-great-o-meter used to measure the test explodes.

Defence – Frank Leboeuf

Frank was a popular centre half until he appeared on the once funny, 'They Think It's All Over...' in 1998. His catchall comedy answer to anything said to him of 'I don't care what you say, I've won the World Cup,' didn’t come across as jovially as he’d hoped. Leboeuf did his best to appear humble when accused of Gaelic arrogance, saying of the incident ‘I’m not like that and if people took it at face value, sorry, they are stupid.’ Way to show you’re a man of the people Frank.

Ego Rating: Steve Jobs The Apple supremo can react badly to criticism, he probably thinks we're all jealous.

Defence – Roy Keane

Royston Keane’s inability to apologise cost him a chance to play in 2002 World Cup, a tournament he did more than any person in the FAI set up to get Ireland to. If that’s not an ego I don’t know what is. Although the fact he can't get in to the midfield speaks volumes about the chancers ahead of him.

Ego Rating: Æbbe the Younger The inspiration behind the phrase ‘Cutting off the nose to spite the face’.

Midfield – Craig Bellamy

Bellamy demands the best of everyone around him and when things aren’t going his way he feels entitled to kick off. With some players you’re prepared to put up with a little off-the-field nonsense because they’re worth the hassle. Unfortunately for the prickly Welshman, for long periods of his career he hasn’t been one of those players.

Ego Rating: Kenny Powers A fleeting disruptive talent. You wouldn’t want one in your team but you’d love to watch them.

Midfield - Joey Barton

Since calling out Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard following their underwhelming World Cup performances and books, Joey has been gunning for England’s men in the middle. He’s since singled out Garry Barry, saying he’s a teacher’s pet who’s only got as far as he has by having a good agent. Joey’s assessment of where he sits in the pantheon of current Premier League midfielders is priceless. 'Honestly, I think I'm the best [English midfielder]. Luka Modric and Samir Nasri are very good, but in terms of English players...well, Jack Wilshere isn't bad, but Frank Lampard's on the way down and Steven Gerrard's been injured a lot.' You can’t beat that sort of belief.

Ego Rating: David Haye Undoubtedly a talent but thinks he’s the best of the current crop. He’s not.

He comes across as that kid from school who was a bit better than everyone else, was awarded the captaincy and saw it as an excuse to take all the free kicks, penalties, corners and goal kicks.

Midfield - Adel Taarabt

Taarabt has always believed in his own ability but now he has a team built around him, his entitlement will know no bounds. He comes across as that kid from school who was a bit better than everyone else, was awarded the captaincy and saw it as an excuse to take all the free kicks, penalties, corners and goal kicks. It’ll be interesting to see how he gets on with on his second attempt at establishing himself as a Premier League footballer. If Warnock’s tactics are ‘give the ball to Adel then defend’ QPR will go down before Taarabt’s ego does.

Ego Rating: The band on the Titanic Only cares about playing for themselves whilst the ship sinks around them.

Midfield - Joe Cole

Even though you don’t see much of Joe giving it the big ‘I am’ in the press, people have been telling him he was going to be the future of English football since he was nine years old. Having that much smoke blown up you’re a**e for 20 years is bound to take it’s toll. Being better than everyone as a kid led Joe to neglect to learn how to shoot, pass or tackle. But he does have a nice line in step overs.

Ego Rating: Drew Barrymore A former child prodigy with the world at their feet they’ve had relative success but not as much as was once touted. Currently underemployed.

Forward – Mario Balotelli

Super Mario Balotelli was always going to disco straight into this team. His ego manifests itself in the total belief that anything that doesn’t concern Mario Balotelli is irrelevant. He still didn’t know who Jack Wilshere was, after playing in the Premier League for four months and has claimed to be the best player in Manchester. Not that we should be that surprised, during the magical Christmas of 2010, he gave us this pressie, ‘There’s only one man in football who is a little stronger than me, that is Leo Messi. All others are behind me.’ Please Super Mario, never leave.

Ego Rating: Simon Cowell Divides opinion and has more than his fair share of po-faced dissenters but I defy anyone to say they’re not entertained by his product.

Forward - Emmanuel Adebayor

Emmanuel Adebayor can only be arsed to try for the first bit of his career at a club. As his ego grows, the amount of time he’s prepared to put the effort in reduces. At Arsenal he tried hard for about a year. At City he gave it a good six months graft before deciding he was too good for all of that. At Madrid he was on best behaviour for at least the first three months of his loan deal. His next club can expect a solid six weeks of world beating performances until he decides having an adhesive first touch and scoring shed loads of goals is beneath him.

Ego Rating: Eminem Worked hard with impressive results. Then started to believe his own hype and just doesn't look like he’s trying anymore.

Forward – Nicklas Bendtner

Did you know the Danish phrase, ‘to do a Bendtner’ was coined for the rare occasion someone taking a self-perceived competency exam scores so high the I-think-I’m-great-o-meter used to measure the test explodes. Hopefully one day Nicklas will fulfil some of his undoubted potential but comments like ‘If you ask me if I am one of the best strikers in the world, I say yes’ only convince people if Nick was only half as good as he thought he was he’d be better than both the Laudrup brothers put together.

Ego Rating: Nicklas Bendtner The byword in self-confidence. Bendtner believes in himself more than Clement Attlee believed in the NHS.

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