Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole believes Joey Barton is unlucky not to have received England recognition during his time at Newcastle United.
The duo go head-to-head in Saturday's derby at the Stadium of Light, with Cattermole an admirer of his adversary.
"I find it frustrating with Joey Barton how he's not in the England squad," Cattermole told BBC Newcastle.
"There's no doubting his ability, but they [the England management team] see him as some problem."
Cattermole added: "I don't understand it, I think he would do well for the England side."
Barton has just one cap for the England senior side, from a friendly with Spain in February 2007, while he was playing for Manchester City .
England manager Fabio Capello said earlier this month he considers Joey Barton too much of a liability to call him into the side.
Meanwhile former Wigan and Middlesbrough midfielder Cattermole is confident Sunderland are better prepared mentally for Saturday's encounter than they were last season.
The Black Cats lost 5-1 at St James' Park in the first of two fixtures, while a last-minute Asamoah Gyan equaliser in January spared blushes in the return.
"It affected us last year," Cattermole said.
"We were much more inexperienced, and the lads who played last year have learned from it.
"Obviously, it's going to be talked about, we got a drubbing at St James', but leading up to that game we were playing really well.
"We were so consistent, we were on a run of 10 games unbeaten, sixth in the league, playing the best football, and were so confident and I think we maybe underestimated them in the first game.
"The second game we couldn't afford to lose and didn't play well either.
"We've just got to go and concentrate on ourselves, I know it's a derby and the fans will be up for it, and it's good day for them.
"Hopefully we'll come out and show a better display from Sunderland, if we can come out on top then it will be brilliant."
BBC Newcastle has exclusive Newcastle commentary of the match on Saturday, 20 August on 95.4FM with build-up from 11:00 BST, while Sunderland commentary is available on 1458 AM and DAB.