Harvey Barnes already backed to become one of England’s best at Newcastle United

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Harvey Barnes earned his sole England cap against Wales almost four years ago and could force his way into the international picture at Newcastle United

Former Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers once tipped Harvey Barnes to become an England stalwart.

That is a feat the Newcastle United man now has in his sights after putting a frustrating foot injury behind him. Barnes marked his first appearance since September with a goal to snatch a point against Luton Town at the weekend.

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A frustrating campaign had resulted in Barnes missing 26 games for Newcastle as they crashed out of Europe and slid down the Premier League table. With Anthony Gordon now out injured, the 26-year-old will likely get a run in the team after coming through the “toughest” spell of his career.

“It's been a tough period for me, the toughest I’ve had in football,” Barnes said following the draw with Luton. “When you’re a new signing, you just want to hit the ground running. Six games in, you’re injured - that’s hard.

“Then, it goes on longer than you think and there’s a couple of setbacks. Mentally, it’s so tough. I’ve had one injury in football other than this. I’ve always been fit. So now I’m back doing what I love, I just want to help the team.”

Barnes may also reignite his international hopes should he continue to score goals for Newcastle. Signed as a productive wideman, the ex-Foxes talisman bagged a respectable 13 times last season despite suffering relegation.

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His sole England cap came in 2020 against Wales but a goal flurry from now until May could force himself into Gareth Southgate’s reckoning. Former Leicester manager Rodgers, who developed Barnes into a Premier League regular, already backed him to become a Three Lions star.

“He’s obviously had wonderful support from his parents and the club and both of those have always looked to develop his talent,” Rodgers said in 2021. “I believe he’s going to become a really, really top player in the next few years. When I came in you could see the talent but he needed to score more goals and week by week he started to do that.

“Unfortunately, we missed him an awful lot at the tail end of last season but he’s come back, he’s getting fitter and over the next few years he’s going to turn into one of the country's top talents.

“I think the only thing that will stop him will be availability. If he can stay injury-free and get that little bit of luck, you can just see his game coming together. He’s got that hunger and is gaining confidence all the time.

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“What’s great about Harvey is he’s a very humble boy, he doesn’t get carried away with it. He comes in with a wonderful attitude. He’s a really clever boy, very coachable, and he’s hungry to be the best player he can be and that’s the type of player and person you want to work with.”

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