Express & Star

Brendan Rodgers challenges Harvey Barnes to go from youngster to star player

Winger Barnes, 22, has scored three goals across 11 games for Leicester.

Last updated

Harvey Barnes has been told by Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers that regular goals and assists can take him from a promising performer to one of the best Premier League players.

Barnes has scored three times across 11 fixtures for the Foxes in all competitions this season and although that figure is far from unflattering, the 22-year-old winger is actively pursuing a greater output as the season progresses.

Asked what feedback Rodgers has given, Barnes said: “He’s spoken about the progression from stepping up from being a young player to becoming a top player.

“He’s reiterated to me that if you are an attacking player in the final third, you can play as well as you want but at the end of the day you need to be getting the goals, the assists, the chances created and hitting those levels.

“Otherwise you’re not helping the team in the right way.

“You see the top wingers score goals, it’s one of the main things that they score a lot of goals. So I want to base my game on them and try to hit the levels that they’re hitting. It’s obviously a big challenge.”

An ideal mentor for Barnes is team-mate Jamie Vardy, who has bagged 111 goals in 218 Premier League appearances for high-flying Leicester ahead of their showdown with defending champions Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday evening.

Barnes revealed he has not sought advice from Vardy but is taking tips by watching the veteran striker up close, both in training and in matches.

Barnes said: “Being able to play with him on the pitch and watch it first-hand is the best way to learn.

“He’s one of the best at it so it’s the perfect example for me to learn off him and add things that he does so well in his game to mine.

“A lot of his goals are one-on-ones with the keeper. Watching his composure and just seeing how he picks his spot, the majority of the time he scores them.

“It’s just making sure when I get those opportunities, I’m also doing the same.”

Alan Shearer, the Premier League’s all-time leading goal-scorer, last year offered Barnes some words of wisdom, telling Leicester’s academy product to look up before shooting.

It is a recommendation Barnes has paid attention to, as he said: “It’s definitely something that I’ve tried to work on. He’s someone who’s scored lots and lots of goals so it’s someone to learn from.”

Barnes came off the bench for his England debut in the 3-0 friendly win against Wales last month but was overlooked by Gareth Southgate for the latest round of international fixtures.

Barnes is pragmatic about the omission and hopes to catch Southgate’s eye over the next few months.

He added: “Getting a little taster last time round was really good for me.

“But everyone is back fit now in the senior squad and there is a lot of quality to choose from. I know I can just focus on my club form, play as well as I can and hopefully I can force the manager’s arm.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.