‘A Sit Down with John Barnes’ – 23rd December 2021

With Boxing Day fixtures on the horizon, we caught up with BonusCodeBets ambassador, John Barnes. The former Liverpool and England midfielder shared his thoughts on games being postponed due to COVID, Arsenal’s links to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and whether Barça’s Frenkie De Jong would be a good signing for Manchester United. 


John Barnes Exclusive: The Premier League needs to provide clarity on COVID guidelines

“The Premier League need to provide some more clarity to teams about how many players or staff need to have contracted covid to warrant a game being called off. 

All games should continue through the current situation though, we cannot have a circuit breaker. If the Premier League underwent a circuit breaker for a month, who’s to say that come the end January that there won’t be any more cases?” 

If you could guarantee that there wouldn’t be and players weren’t contracting it, then you’d go for that option. But given you can’t, it doesn’t make any sense to discuss a circuit break option.”

The best thing to do is fulfil all fixtures, and if teams have a certain number of players fit, which the league must make clear, then teams should just play it. There will obviously be some games called off due to COVID, but you have to make the best of the bad situation.” 

I empathise with the Premier League because it isn’t an ideal situation, and some teams may not be able to play at all, as Tottenham Hotspur couldn’t for two weeks, but you just have to get on with it.”


John Barnes Exclusive: Jurgen Klopp and Jude Bellingham speaking out about vaccines is fantastic, but it’s a problem in society rather than football

“I have two children who work for the NHS, and think it is fantastic that Jurgen Klopp and Jude Bellingham are speaking out about the vaccine. 

“But you can’t force people to get the jab, and we seem to be a lot more reluctant in the UK rather than in Germany to get the vaccine, I’m not quite sure as to why. But this isn’t just a problem in football, it’s a problem in society. Lots of people in society are not getting the vaccine for one reason or another. Football of course is quite representative of the population with many younger people deciding to not get it, but you can’t look at football and say that it is just a problem in football.

“Footballers can’t always be role models as much as we want them to be. Just because a footballer gets a vaccine, it doesn’t mean that everybody else in the UK is then going to follow and likewise if another footballer doesn’t get it. It boils down to people individually and everyone has their choice. It is bigger than football.”

john barnes

John Barnes Exclusive: Liverpool have great strength in depth

“With Liverpool not having any of their starting midfield players and almost getting three points despite going down to 10 men, I feel it shows Liverpool do have great strength in depth. Tottenham are a very good side with great players, the likes of Harry Kane, Son and even Dele Alli. All their top players were available, and they had two weeks to rest before playing. Liverpool went down to 10 men and still managed to hold on for a point, it shows how strong that squad is.”


John Barnes Exclusive: Alisson is the best keeper in the league with Ederson

“The Premier League has two great goalkeepers in Alisson and Ederson, and Alisson is certainly one of the best keepers of the Premier League, Liverpool fans are so happy with him since he arrived. As to whether he is better than Ederson, that is just an opinion, but we [Liverpool] couldn’t wish for a better goalkeeper. All keepers make mistakes, and Alisson doesn’t make too many of them. He tried to clear the ball against Tottenham and it went under him, but it isn’t an issue at all.”


John Barnes Exclusive: Dele Alli has life under Antonio Conte if he plays like he did against Liverpool

“Dele Alli has life under Antonio Conte or any manager if he puts in the kind of commitment and performance we saw against Liverpool. Dele (Alli) definitely had a great game, but he needs to be doing that every week. One swallow doesn’t make a summer both from his and Tottenham’s point of view. But it was good to see his effort and his commitment levels were right where they needed to be, but he has some way to go until he’s doing that on a regular basis for Spurs.

“But he certainly has the talent, and with the right attitude there’s no reason why he can’t revamp his Tottenham career under Antonio Conte.”


John Barnes Exclusive: Lacazette can take advantage of Arsenal’s situation with Aubameyang

“For Arsenal to decide on what they want to do with Alexandre Lacazette, they need to sort out the ongoing issue with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. If the former club captain is looking to leave Arsenal and Mikel Arteta wants to get rid of him, they won’t allow Lacazette to leave as that would leave them with just inexperienced strikers. 

“Lacazette is a very good player, and if he wants he can take advantage of the current situation. He needs to get his head down and play a good number of games whilst scoring a few goals. This is a good opportunity for him to show the club and the fans what he can do, and if that happens with the captain’s armband on, then that is even better for the club.”


John Barnes Exclusive: Dominic Calvert-Lewin would be a great signing for Arsenal

“Arsenal have been linked with Dominic Calvert-Lewin which would be a good signing for them. He’s young, English, shows good commitment and effort, but he is currently an Everton player and right now, he won’t want to leave there. 

The Everton fans love him, he’s doing well there, and he needs to show that level of consistency for club and country before he can think about moving to one of the bigger clubs. Realistically he hasn’t done a lot for Everton to even talk about him warranting a move. However, if he was to go to Arsenal, it would be a brilliant signing for both parties, especially Arsenal.”


John Barnes Exclusive: Gabriel Martinelli is Arsenal’s future

“Gabriel Martinelli is a fantastic player and is rated highly by most people who watch him in the Premier League. His career at Arsenal has been stifled by Pierre-Emerick Aubayemang and Alexandre Lacazette being ahead of him in the starting team, but he’s good real quality and you sense now there is an opportunity for him. 

“You’d like the more senior players to play around him to help give him more experience, but every time he plays, he performs well and I’m sure he has a great career ahead of him. 

“Long term, he is Arsenal’s future. Similar to Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka, I believe he will be the next player to burst into the Arsenal team and make his mark. He can be another one of the younger players that the team relies on. He’s got a great future ahead of him in the Premier League.”


John Barnes Exclusive: Frenkie de Jong would be a brilliant signing for Manchester United 

“Frenkie de Jong would be a brilliant signing for Manchester United. It looks like Paul Pogba is on his way out of the club so bringing in a replacement for him is very important. Especially if that person is a young and talented player who will get the opportunity to be one of the main players at the club. He has everything in terms of passing range, intensity and a great attitude. It’s exactly what Manchester United need in midfield.

“That was their plan with Donny Van de Beek, but of course he’s been stifled by other players in his position playing better than him. However, bringing de Jong in and putting him straight into the side and being trusted would be good for both Manchester United and him.”


John Barnes Exclusive: Kyogo Furahashi won’t get Premier League interest after one good season in Scotland

“Kyogo Furuhashi has been brilliant for Celtic so far this season. He is someone who has a great attitude to play football and wants to get his head down and perform each week. However, even though he might have one good season in Scotland with Celtic, doesn’t mean he’ll get any interest from Premier League clubs. 

The most important thing for him at this moment in time, is to stay at Celtic, continue working hard and help Celtic challenge Rangers for the Scottish Premiership title as best as he can.”


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