After another eventful week of the Premier League which has seen his beloved Liverpool lift the Premier League trophy, we spoke to BonusCodeBets ambassador, John Barnes. The former Liverpool and Watford midfielder shared his thoughts on Watford’s lack of stability following Nigel Pearson’s dismissal, Manchester United’s goalkeeper dilemma, and whether Odsonne Edouard has the fundamentals to become a success in the Premier League.
John Barnes Exclusive: Nigel Pearson should have been the start of some stability for Watford, sacking him is a strange decision
This had been going on for years at Watford, there has been about 13 managers in a small space of time, and they change players all the time. That ideally is not a recipe for success, but until this season it worked for them to an extent – having players on loan who aren’t committed to the club and sometimes two or three managers a year.
However, I felt that sooner rather than later they were going to need some stability in terms of a solid manager and team. I thought this may have been achieved when Nigel Pearson came in, so there must be something that’s happened that we do not know about, I don’t think it is as simple as sacking him for results. We hear rumours about something happening in the dressing room and rumours about the owners, we don’t know truthfully. It is a very strange decision to sack the manager with two games to go in an especially important season. Especially when, considering where they were when Nigel Pearson took over to how they’re doing now. This decision is a surprise and you can speculate as to why, but discussions and arguments happen in football, it is part of the game.
John Barnes Exclusive: Chelsea should not let the opportunity for Havertz pass them by just because he will not solve their defensive issues
Everyone has their opinions on what type of players Chelsea need, Kai Havertz is more of an attacking player. However, in football, if you have an opportunity to sign a top player that you think would help you, then you should take it. Chelsea could ignore Havertz and focus on a defender but not end up with one. Especially when you get an opportunity to sign an exceptionally good, 21-year-old player and feel that is a player you need. From the outside it may look like Havertz is not what Chelsea need, but he is a good young German player, who has the right attitude, good commitment and who plays a similar kind of football to that of what we play in England. In a year or two Real Madrid, Barcelona or another one of the top teams will want him; so it would be good for Chelsea to get there first. If it does not work out for him in London, it’s still a good investment for them.
John Barnes Exclusive: Frank Lampard has maximised the potential of Chelsea’s squad, he deserves credit
Whether Frank Lampard wins the FA Cup or not, it has been a good first season for him as Chelsea manager. Even if Chelsea were to finish comes 4th or 5th but is close to finishing 3rd then it is not a bad season because of how competitive the top of the table is with Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United. I expected Chelsea to finish there or thereabouts as they have a top side. Lampard has maximised the potential of the team, so I think he’s done a good job and deserves credit for it.
John Barnes Exclusive: Dean Henderson is not ready for Manchester United
The only reason for Dean Henderson to come back to Manchester United should be for him to be number one. What’s the point for him if he’s only brought back to sit on the bench and put pressure on David De Gea to ensure he plays well? I still think De Gea is a number 1, he made a couple of mistakes recently, but so has Dean Henderson. (Dean) Henderson’s mistakes don’t necessarily get noticed at Sheffield United, while mistakes at Manchester United are highlighted under a microscope. I don’t think (Dean) Henderson is ready to come to United, whether he thinks he’s got a better chance at getting in the team right now or not, the best thing for him to do is to keep gaining experience playing top level football and showing what he can do at a Sheffield United or another Premier League side, for at least another year.
John Barnes Exclusive: Liverpool are still giving 100%, I can’t believe there is any criticism!
Subconsciously Liverpool have taken their foot off the gas. If you look at them, they’re still giving 100%, but the necessity to win at all costs just isn’t there. They haven’t been complacent, they’ve been really trying, but the pressure of having to win is a factor that goes onto the pitch. This was always going to happen, but as they’re still giving 100%, I don’t have an issue with that at all; it’s just human nature. I don’t see how anyone can criticize them at all, and I haven’t seen a single Liverpool player who isn’t giving it his all.
John Barnes Exclusive: Neil Lennon’s alleged comment is true – any player from any club is available for the right price.
I don’t know if the comment that Neil Lennon allegedly made is true, but if it wasn’t, does that mean every player isn’t available for the right price? No, it doesn’t. Every player from any club is available for the right price. Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal – if someone offers £300m for Mo Salah then he’s going to go. I don’t know why people are surprised, other than the fact he’s said it. But, if he hadn’t, do Celtic fans really believe that their best player isn’t available for the right price? No, they don’t. This is a fact of life, and of modern football.
John Barnes Exclusive: Odsonne Edouard is good enough to make the step to the Premier League
Odsonne Edouard is the top striker in Scotland and if Aubameyang was to leave Arsenal, then they will be looking at Edouard’s situation. However, if Aubameyang stays, then I don’t see him coming. I think if you look at any of the top players in Scotland that they could come down to England and be a success. He’s doing very well at the moment and could make the step up to the Premier League if he gets a move that’s right for him and works for how he plays.
John Barnes Exclusive: Arsenal must be prepared for Aubameyang’s departure.
As a club, you must be keeping tabs on other players and potential replacements because you just don’t know what is going to happen. You must always be ready for the possibility of a player leaving, so that you’re not caught with your pants down. Even if a player is happy and everything is going well at a club, the club has got to be ahead of the game in case the worst happens, and they’ve got to find a replacement. This is the case with Aubamayang, nothing is certain in football so it’s important you prepare.
John Barnes Exclusive: Virgil van Dijk would be my Ballon d’Or winner this season
With no Ballon d’Or this season, if I had to pick one player to win it, it would be Virgil van Dijk. He would have been my player of the year this season, just in terms of what he’s done over the last 18 months. Ronaldo has done well, as has Messi, and of course it’s always those two, they’ll be up for Ballon d’Or contention again next year I’m sure. The consistency that Virgil (van Dijk) has shown since signing for Liverpool has been incredible.
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