A Sit Down with John Barnes – 14th October 2020

Following a week of international fixtures and new plans now being proposed as part of Project Big Picture for the Premier Legaue, we’ve spoken to BonusCodeBets ambassador, John Barnes. The former England and Liverpool forward shared his thoughts on Eddie Nketiah’s success in the U21s, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s position priority for The Reds and the impact Thomas Partey will have at Arsenal.

John Barnes Exclusive: Project Big Picture will give too much power to the bigger clubs

“At this moment in time we are all unaware of the full details for Project Big Picture. But, looking at it at face value, it looks a wonderful deal which will help EFL clubs by receiving £250 million stopping many from going out of business. As well as this, the deal allows clubs to receive up to 25% of their future revenues which can only be beneficial for the sustainability of the league further down the line. However, the special voting privileges for selected big clubs shows many are likely to gain too much power and could very well take advantage of clubs in trouble to get what they want.

john barnes

On the one hand, the EFL are getting a fantastic deal that will help their future revenues, but in 10 years’ time when the big clubs have more power, it may backfire on them. What we need is a short-term solution that will ultimately stop these smaller clubs from going out of business and safeguard them – that must be the priority.”

John Barnes Exclusive: The Premier League are within their rights to charge fans to watch games, if they don’t like it, they don’t have to watch

“The FA and the Premier League are not out of order for charging fans to watch the games, as they aren’t doing anything that other industries aren’t doing at this moment in time. If people don’t want to pay the money, then they don’t have to. It has been going on for years, when the ticket prices went up, were they within their rights to do so? I think they were.

“It’s a choice, if you don’t want to pay for it, don’t pay for it. Football is no different to anything else or any other aspect of life. I am sick of people blaming the sport for all the ills in life and thinking it should have a special place above anyone. Everyone needs to come together and accept the decision. I am not about to be bashing the premier league for their decision.”

John Barnes Exclusive: People need to stop complaining, Football is making the best out of a bad situation

“The current COVID situation is certainly not a perfect scenario and everyone will say we shouldn’t be playing international matches but England, the FA and other international countries would say that we need to play these games and we should instead perhaps cancel Premier League games. It’s all about making the best out of a bad situation, each football institution will have their own opinion on what they want and that stems from a selfish viewpoint.

“People can criticise clubs when they have two or three players with Coronavirus and they can’t play a full-strength team, but what can we really do? Should we just not play football until no one has Coronavirus rather than saying let’s make the best out of a bad situation? It’s hard to stop people complaining when things aren’t perfect in football.”

John Barnes Exclusive: James Maddison should be the first midfielder in the England team ahead of Grealish or Mount

“Everyone is talking about Mason Mount being selected over Jack Grealish, but for me, James Maddison is better than both, it’s hard to play everyone. England have so many good attacking players you have Jack Grealish, Mason Mount, James Maddison and Dele Alli, then the likes of Jadon Sancho and Raheem Sterling who play in front of them as the attacking forwards.

It’s unfortunate you can’t play all of them, if they played at defensive midfield position or at centre back maybe there would be more opportunity for these young players to start consistently. Both Mount and Grealish have done well in England games, but there are plenty of other players who I feel are ahead of them from an experience point of view. From a consistency point of view, you could argue that Mason Mount needs to play more seasons at Chelsea and get into the starting eleven and stake his claim as an England regular, so it is not as simple to say it is just those players.”

John Barnes Exclusive: Trent Alexander-Arnold will be right back at Liverpool for the next five years, he doesn’t need to worry about playing midfield

“Trent Alexander-Arnold isn’t going to get ahead of any of Liverpool’s current midfielders in the next two or three years, with the likes of Fabinho, Wijnaldum and Thiago. He doesn’t need to worry about his long-term position at Liverpool as he is the first choice right back for Liverpool for the next four or five years minimum. Yes, he does have a lot of attributes of a midfield player with his passing and crossing abilities, but he is so useful for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool at the moment, it would be silly for him to think about playing anywhere else.”

Barnes Exclusive: Thomas Partey is everything that Arsenal needed

“Thomas Partey was necessary for Arsenal, they needed strengthening in defensive midfield, and players who could break the game up whilst leading from the back and turning defence into attack. (Thomas) Partey is a decent player on the ball but his true qualities lie in winning the ball back and giving Arsenal that steel in midfield to protect the back four, so he is an excellent signing for them.

It is important that fans understand that he won’t start spraying long diagonal balls, doing step overs in the opposition half or scoring from long range. Arsenal have many players such as Aubameyang and Willian who can do that for them. (Thomas) Partey will be that shield to support the defence and break up the play, which Arsenal have been crying out for a long time. He really could be the difference for them this season and I am excited to see how he gets on”

Barnes Exclusive: Eddie Nketiah has potential but still has such a long way to go

“Eddie Nketiah may have been showing good signs in the England U21s, but he needs to start playing regularly for Arsenal to grow his reputation ever more. At this moment in time, he is unlikely to get in ahead of Arsenal’s strike force, and there could come a time where he needs to consider his options. He may have a big future in Football but let him a make a statement for his club team first before we start overhyping him and he under delivers.

It’s the same as what happened to Theo Walcott, the footballing world hyped him up far too much at such a young age after a few good games when really, he had so much more to prove on the big stage. He is a young player who has great talent and potential, but we must let him grow slowly and mature as a player. At his young age, development is the most important thing right now and then over time see how he progresses.

You also must look at all the other young English talent who are ahead of him currently the likes of Sancho, Grealish and Mount. Let him develop slowly and get a first team spot at a football club, because realistically he hasn’t done a lot yet.”

Barnes Exclusive: Harry Maguire is the best Centre Half that England have

“Harry Maguire should not be weighed down by his Manchester United price tag as he has no control over it, he may have had a tough few weeks in the Premier League, but that is Football. The price tag does not affect a player’s performance, but in the footballing world we’re living in it affects the perception of what fans see of a player.

Harry Maguire is the best centre half in the country. No question about that. There is no one I see in the England team that gets in ahead of him, the likes of Joe Gomes and Eric Dier are not necessarily better than Harry (Maguire). Conor Coady had a great game for England the other night, but does he start regularly for England if Maguire is fit? I highly doubt it. Just because he cost eighty million pounds doesn’t mean that he is one of the best in the world, that is just the inflated price tag that was paid for him at the time. However, without doubt, he is one of the best that England have got in his position.”

Barnes Exclusive: No fans will enhance the football in the Old Firm derby

“There will definitely be a big game atmosphere in Glasgow on Saturday, but of course, without the fans it will be slightly less so. It could have a positive impact on the players’ games as rather than get caught up in the emotion and have the pressure of the fans on their backs, they could produce a better performance and we could see more fluid football being played.

The Merseyside derby last season behind closed doors was a classic example, the Everton fans weren’t demanding the players to attack all the time and in the end they (Everton) got a clean sheet. The same will be the case for Rangers this weekend, they can play a more cautious game against a slightly better team in Celtic. Rangers are playing really well though. They are unbeaten and playing with confidence, but then so are Celtic so I see it being a much more even affair.”


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