Joey Barton makes Paul Gascoigne comparison about Bristol Rovers captain

The Bristol Rovers boss gave the highest praise to his stand-in captain for his performance against Peterborough.

Joey Barton has hailed Bristol Rovers midfielder Sam Finley and compared the Gas captain to England legend Paul Gascoigne.

Finley captained Rovers to a 1-0 victory over promotion-chasing Peterborough United and assisted Scott Sinclair in the match-winning goal. It was his second assist in a week after supplying Aaron Collins with a delicious cross for Aaron Collins’ header against Fleetwood Town.

Finley captained Rovers on what was his 50th league start for Rovers, in the continued absence of Paul Coutts, who remains sidelined with an ankle injury.

"His ball for the goal is a really good ball out," Barton said in his post-match press conference. He was probably guilty at most in the stadium of going wide, I don’t know whether it was Collins or Coburn on the outside. Sam’s seen a pass I don’t think many of us have seen.

"To pick Scott and that composure in the box is the difference between a 0-0 draw and us winning the game. A real quality match-winning moment from our captain today. His performances have been top-class in recent weeks and his assist against Fleetwood for Azza provides the assist for the match-winner. I’m really pleased with Sam."

Finley has been with Rovers for a season-and-a-half after leaving Barton’s former club Fleetwood Town. He dropped down a division to reunite with the Liverpudlian but it has been a move that has ultimately paid off with the midfielder penning a new deal until the summer of 2023.

In his latest performance, the 30-year-old was paid the ultimate compliment for his performance when he was likened to Newcastle United great Paul Gascoigne.

Gascoigne had a playing career that saw him turn out for the likes of Rangers, Lazio, and Tottenham Hotspur. He made over 57 caps for the England national team and scored a memorable goal against Scotland at EURO 1996.

"He does stuff that you can’t coach,” said Barton in his post-match press conference. "He reminds me of Paul Gascoigne in a way.

“The way he uses his arms to roll you and get in front of you. He’s a lot quicker than what a lot of people think he is. He’s sneaky quick, he really is.

“He’ll use your momentum. I remember Gazza used to burst through. If you watch Sam, he is really good at manipulating his body to get through.

"He’s in a space now where he thinks he knows how the Gasheads feel about him. He has that composure in his performance that if Couttsy isn’t there he’s leading the team or he is vice-captain.

“I think a real level of maturity has been added to Sam’s game. I still think the best years are out in front of him. He’s going strength to strength since he’s been at our football club, so long may that continue.”