‘A Sit Down with John Barnes’ – 31st March 2022

As the Premier League gets set to return this weekend, we spoke to Liverpool legend and BonusCodeBets ambassador, John Barnes. The former midfielder discussed Nicolas Pépé not suiting Arsenal, Luke Shaw needing to fight for his place at Manchester United and Chelsea being right in selling Tammy Abraham, despite his scoring form

John Barnes Exclusive: Luke Shaw should fight for his place rather than comment on a potential move

“When it comes to players making public comments about their playing time, players simply must fight for a place on the pitch, regardless of whether that’s for England or their club. 

“If you struggle with your club team [as Luke Shaw has] but not England you’ll obviously be more comfortable playing for them. It’s understandable that players might comment publicly about wanting to move away from a club in that respect. 

“But regardless of who you are, you must fight for your place.”

John Barnes Exclusive: Harry Kane should focus on Spurs and forget any transfer speculation

“Harry Kane must move wherever he feels happiest and wants to go. Irrespective of whether Manchester United is a sideways move, United is still a great club. 

“Harry hasn’t got a choice in where he goes though, he cannot choose to move to Real Madrid for example, they don’t want him – he can only go to an available option. 

“It’s a feature of modern football where players will leave one big club for another. But, in Kane’s case, it’s also up to Tottenham and whether they want to sell him. At the last transfer window, they didn’t want to, and he was unable to leave. It isn’t up to Harry Kane.

“Until that happens, he should give 100% for Tottenham, he’ll be there until the end of the season regardless.”

john barnes

John Barnes Exclusive: Bruno Fernandes must focus on performing now that he’s signed an extension

“Manchester United will want to keep their best players and sign them for a long time. Bruno Fernandes is young enough that he could be at United for a long time. 

“It is vital that a player of his quality signs an extension, but what is more vital is that he starts performing, playing well and showing commitment to the club’s cause. 

“A player of his ability remaining is great news for United, but that isn’t to say they’ll go on and win the league because he signed. It’s more important for them to show the right attitude and commitment.”

John Barnes Exclusive: Erik ten Haag needs full control at United, being a commercial club is irrelevant

“Every football club is a commercial club these days, football is now a commercialised industry. The most important thing for Manchester United’s new manager is that they are given full power. 

“Maybe Louis Van Gaal meant in his comments about Erik ten Haag that commercial activities will take precedence over football decisions that are made and then taken out of his hands. That shouldn’t happen at a football club, and it would be wrong to do so. 

“Van Gaal probably meant that Ten Haag has to be at a club in which he is totally in control over all footballing matters. He feels that Erik won’t be given that option at United, and he’s advising him that any club he goes to, that what should actually happen.”

John Barnes Exclusive: Chelsea were right to let Tammy Abraham walk

“Chelsea didn’t make a mistake by letting Tammy Abraham go, despite the fact he’s scored more than all their strikers combined this season. 

“Abraham wasn’t scoring for Chelsea. Just because a player is doing well elsewhere doesn’t mean a club made a mistake in letting them go. 

“Obviously, the club he’s currently at, Roma just suits him more. Arsenal didn’t make a mistake in moving Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on, just because he’s scored six goals in seven games. It just wasn’t happening for Tammy at Chelsea.”

John Barnes Exclusive: Harry Kane’s plaudits for his England achievements are justified

“Harry Kane already gets a lot of respect for what he’s done in an England shirt, so he doesn’t deserve even more respect. 

“From the point of view of him getting respect after potentially breaking Wayne Rooney’s record, Wayne also won European Cups and other titles with Manchester United. 

“Harry should be judged from his England appearances and goals. He will become the top scorer and get all of the respect that he deserves. 

“There is always a difference between what you’ve done with your club versus England. Plenty of players have won a Champions League with their club, but not even played for their country – but they still get that respect.”

John Barnes Exclusive: Harry Maguire is more protected at England than Manchester United

“Harry Maguire will not be leaving Manchester United to go to a club that plays a back three like Tottenham. That’s a nonstarter. 

“Maguire has played in back fours for the majority of his career and including for England.

“I don’t believe he [Maguire] plays better in a back three than a back four. When England played with a back four, he played well. His form has nothing to do with that. It is all to do with the protection he gets from the hard-working England players in front of him, whereas at United the front four don’t work hard enough to protect the defence.

“He’s just more comfortable playing for England.”

John Barnes Exclusive: Arsenal must keep Tierney if they have any ambition

“Despite Kieran Tierney’s recent links to clubs like Real Madrid, Arsenal shouldn’t be selling off their best players if they want to be in the top four or challenging for the league.

“Smaller clubs will cash in on players to make the money to fund other signings that help them in their future. Arsenal are a club who have ambitions of winning the Premier League. 

“If they have any ambition, they cannot sell players like him, and Arsenal definitely should not be doing that, whatsoever.”

John Barnes Exclusive: Arsenal’s style doesn’t suit Nicolas Pépé

“The style of football at Arsenal clearly doesn’t suit Nicolas Pépé as much as Lille’s did. As a player, you have to find a club that suits you. 

“It’s okay to say a player should be moved on, but if he’s got a contract, you can’t always just sell them if they don’t want to go. And equally, players cannot force a club to sell them. 

“For the sake of his own career, he may feel it is best to move on. And if Arsenal receives a bid that they deem sufficient, it could happen. It’s clearly not worked out.

“If there’s a compromise between Nicolas, the club and all other parties then it’s best that he accepts it. Arsenal will get a bit of money back and can use it to buy someone.”


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