Leicester’s Harvey Barnes makes assured England debut

Harvey Barnes of England and Leicester City (Photo by Nick Potts – Pool/Getty Images)

903 days since Harvey Barnes made his Premier League debut for Leicester City, the winger made his England senior debut this evening overcame Wales 3-0.

Barnes was called-up to Gareth Southgate’s squad after an impressive start to the 2020/21 campaign for Leicester City and started on the substitute’s bench at Wembley as the Three Lions welcomed Ryan Giggs’ side.

The Foxes winger has started the Premier League season with one goal and one assist in the opening four games, being one of Brendan Rodgers’ most instrumental part of the tactical plan implemented by the Northern Irish manager.

Following his good start, he is set to be handed a new contract at King Power Stadium amid interest from Premier League champions Liverpool.

In the previous year, the Burnley-born winger has transitioned into one of the most improved wide players in the league, impressing massively in his debut season for Leicester as he helped them secure European football for the second time in four years.

Despite the lack of goals to his game, there was no surprise when Southgate handed Barnes a call-up last week. His performance in the victories against West Brom and Manchester City certainly caught the eye of the Three Lions boss.

With the game won, Barnes was introduced on 76 minutes, replacing Jack Grealish and was immediately placed on the left-hand side.

Straight away, Barnes showed his quality with a number of composed and assured touches and even won a headed duel, which is very rare in his game. In the final 14 minutes of the game, the Leicester academy-graduate several key passes and was very unselfish when finding the ball inbetween the lines, providing Ainsley Maitland-Niles with an opportunity to potentially open his England account.

One moment that stood out, despite it being small, was when he received the ball in the middle of the Wales half before turning with great skill and being dragged down by Chris Mepham.

Barnes will be disappointed with only getting 14 minutes to show his worth, but with Belgium and Denmark coming up before he returns for Leicester’s home fixture with Aston Villa, he will be looking to get more minutes into the tank for his nation.

With Southgate opting for a 3-4-1-2 formation on Thursday, creativity was hard to come by and the England boss may be tempted to alter his formation against a Belgium side that deploy a 3-4-3 formation.

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If this is the case, Barnes could be handed a starting place if wingers are used, however, with Jadon Sancho back and available, his chances could be restricted.