Wayne Rooney missed the opportunity to be a world class player because he lacked discipline, claims Joey Barton. The QPR midfielder, never shy of offering an opinion, was scathing of the Manchester United striker during an interview with Radio 5 live Sport about England's World Cup hopes.
"Our players aren't world class. They are not world class," Barton, who made one appearance for the national team, said.
"Rooney could have been world class but look at his mentality compared to Cristiano Ronaldo. Polar opposites.
"Why does Ronaldo achieve what he achieves and Rooney doesn't? When you see Wayne Rooney smoking cigarettes, does he live his life correctly?
"From the questions I've asked of players who have worked with both....he (Ronaldo) is in the gym or honing his game. Barton continued: "The level of discipline he has for his chosen profession is the reason he is the best player in the world at the present time, and that's the reason Rooney isn't."
Barton also dismissed any hope of the Three Lions succeeding in Brazil this summer. The former Manchester City and Newcastle player pointed to the fact there appears to be a lack of belief right at the top of the organisation.
"If the coach doesn't believe, the organisation doesn't believe, if the media don't believe, the players.....nobody believes we can win it. So we're not going to win it," Barton said.
"When you see Greg Dyke's reaction to the World Cup draw, for me that said everything I need to know."