A Sit Down with John Barnes – 25th June 2020 – Premier League Tips

With the Premier League now back underway with talking points a plenty, we spoke with BonusCodeBets ambassador, John Barnes. The Premier League Legend discussed the strength and depth of the current Liverpool squad and Jose Mourinho’s comments to Paul Merson involving Harry Kane. As well as this, Barnes also criticised Roy Keane for his below-the-belt punditry recently as Manchester United drew to Tottenham Hotspur.


John Barnes Exclusive: Liverpool don’t need to make signings; their squad is still 22 points better than anyone else

That is not falling into a trap of not making signings. If Liverpool were to make big signings but then suddenly, those signings cannot play, and they cannot get into the team because of Salah and Firmino, it damages the harmony of the club. How does that big signing feel when he’s always on the bench? I don’t think they need to do it at all (make a huge signing). And I don’t feel this was the reason Manchester City didn’t win the title this season.

Pep and Klopp, the two most successful managers in world football both feel like they don’t have to make big signings to compete. So, who are we to question that? They are successful every year. If you have players you can put in the squad like Minamino and Origi, Liverpool still have a large squad with people that can make an impact from the bench. It is not an issue to go and sign someone.

Could they (Liverpool) make a signing? Quite possibly. But with the squad they have, they are 22 points better off than everybody else. So, I don’t see why there is a necessity to sign big. Obviously, Lallana is on his way so maybe they will replace him, but I can’t see Liverpool making big signings. If they do there is pressure on their reaction, and the harmony they bring to the team.

John Barnes Exclusive: Liverpool have been competitive in every game they play, that’s why they’re going to be Champions

Well they (Liverpool) must win it first this season, you can’t worry about next season until you finish this season. The inspiration is not winning it this season, it is winning football matches. That is what Jurgen Klopp talks about, every single game they play they’re trying to win.

They (Liverpool) didn’t win it (Premier League) last year. So how did they win it this year? Inspiration doesn’t come from the success or failure; inspiration comes from the fact that you must be competitive in every game you play. If you’re competitive in every game you play, and you win more than you lose, you’ll have a chance of winning the Premier League. Are Manchester City going to be more inspired because they didn’t win it? I don’t think so, it doesn’t play a factor for me.

John Barnes Exclusive: Roy Keane goes too far as a pundit; he made the same mistakes when he played

There were times in my career when someone dribbled the ball past me and there were definitely times where it happened to Roy Keane during his career also, so I do think he went slightly over the top of his criticism of both Harry Maguire and David De Gea.

Constructive criticism is always good but to say it was a disgrace was too far. Players like Rio Ferdinand, Jaap Stam, Alan Hansen all made mistakes during their career but that is a part of football, people make errors in their game. If no one made any mistakes then every game would finish 0-0 so at the end of the day we all need to be balanced in our opinion and in this instance, Roy Keane went over the top.

John Barnes: Tottenham won’t naturally play attacking, but Harry Kane will always score goals

To be honest, it is not surprising when he started listing the names of the striker he managed previously – that is what happens when you manage the best teams in the world, you have the best players in the world. His stats about Drogba were wrong though!

If you look at the way Tottenham naturally play, they aren’t currently in the top two or three teams in the country or Europe, so therefore, in that respect, they are not playing in a way that will make Harry Kane score a load of goals; not like when he was at Real Madrid or Chelsea. In some way, Merson does have a point about Kane, but it was probably a little bit too far. This is because Kane will naturally always score goals, but I don’t think Tottenham necessarily play in such an attacking style which will mean that he gets a load of opportunities in a game.

Obviously, Tottenham may not create as many chances for Kane in a game as he would for maybe a Liverpool or Barcelona, but Mourinho has been a successful manager in England and abroad with his style of football.

John Barnes: The Bundesliga give young players more of a chance than the Premier League

It shows that in Germany, they are willing to give the younger players a chance. If you look at Jadon Sancho, if he stayed in England, he might not have got as much game time, whereas he moved to Dortmund, who are one of the biggest teams in Europe, and is playing every week. In Germany, because of the financial implications against the Bundesliga, the best players in the world are inclined to go to other leagues and earn more money, meaning there is more of an opportunity for developing younger talent.

It’s really because of the financial power of the Premier League and the pressure mangers are under to play certain players, it means that young players, no matter how good you are, haven’t been given a good opportunity. Take Phil Foden for example, he has been at Manchester City for 2-3 years now and is only just been given his opportunity, while in Germany, he may have been one of the shining stars already.

Whether we like it or not, Dortmund for Jude Bellingham. I hope he gets given a real opportunity to play at a club that is one of the best in Germany and Europe.

John Barnes: Neil Warnock has been here before, I’m not surprised Boro’ made the move

I am quite surprised that Woodgate got the sack, but of course, I don’t necessarily think it’s because of the first game. I’m sure that Middlesbrough don’t see themselves as a League One club, and with some players on big contracts, it won’t do well for them to go down. So, they decided to go for a manager in Neil Warnock, who in the short-term may keep them up in the Championship this season.

You have previous examples of when clubs bring in managers like Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis, who will come in quickly and galvanize the team, and Neil Warnock has done it before. With the financial implications and the threat of relegation especially in the current climate, they decided to make that move now and I wish Neil Warnock and Middlesbrough all the best for the rest of the season.

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