Sam Vokes has admitted to surprise that Joey Barton gave up another shot at the Premier League to join Rangers.
Midfielder Barton helped Burnley to the Championship title this season and an instant return to England’s top flight.
“I’m gutted that Joey has gone,” said Wales striker Vokes, who scored 15 league goals for the Clarets this season.
“I was a bit surprised too because he was a big part of the squad and a key figure for us on and off the pitch.”
Barton turned down a lucrative 12-month deal to stay at Turf Moor and has instead joined Rangers on a two-year contract following the Glasgow club’s promotion to the Scottish Premiership.
The 33-year-old has had plenty of controversial moments in a career that has also taken in Manchester City, Newcastle United, Queens Park Rangers and Marseille.
But Vokes insisted: “He was good around the place. Even when we had a sticky patch around Christmas, he was a great leader in the dressing-room.
“People spoke about his reputation before he came in, but I didn’t see that at all.
“I’m sure he will go up to Scotland and have a good crack at it.
“He was a big part of what we did, but he’s made that decision and he’ll go up there with the same energy that he had for us.”
Vokes, speaking at Wales’ pre-Euro 2016 training camp in Portugal, is excited about a return to England’s top flight under manager Sean Dyche.
“The club is in a lot better position on the financial side after coming out of the Premier League the last time,” suggested the 26-year-old.
“A few lads have signed new contracts and that shows the stability of the club and their intentions.
“The manager has been a massive part of the club’s success over the last three or four years.
“I think he’ll bring in a few players this summer and the club will have a go.
“We’ve got a stable group, but he will look to add a bit of quality.”