Newcastle’s Barnes at an International Crossroads
The world of international football is complex, and for Newcastle’s prized winger Harvey Barnes, the tug of national loyalty grows ever stronger. On the back foot with England, a chance to shine with Scotland beckons.
Wearing the Three Lions: A Distant Memory?
At 25, Barnes has donned the famed English jersey just once, in a friendly skirmish against Wales. Yet, a deeper delve reveals a player out of favour with England’s managerial helm, Gareth Southgate. Even as the England squad brimmed with 55 prospects for the World Cup, Barnes’ name was conspicuous in its absence.
The heart of the matter? Southgate is spoilt for choice, boasting a raft of left-wing talents. This has cast a shadow on Barnes’ hopes of gracing the turf at the forthcoming Euros in Germany.
The Scottish Beckoning
Amid this uncertainty, a clarion call from the North sounds ever enticing. Scotland’s prospects in the upcoming Euro 2024 are buoyed by their current run, outpacing even two-time European champions Spain in the group stages.
According to a report by The Times, Barnes, through the lineage of his grandparents, finds himself at a Scottish crossroads. Eligible to represent the Tartan Army and not bound by competitive caps for England, the shift seems plausible, more so after Scotland’s dominant display against Cyprus.
For Steve Clarke and his team, securing Barnes would be akin to landing a marquee signing. Notably, Scotland has been actively scouting for adept wide forwards.
Reflecting on the European Championship, Barnes once expressed to Sky Sports, “As an English player the European Championship has to be a motivation, to make sure you’re in that squad at the end of the season.”
From England to… Elsewhere
Barnes wouldn’t be alone in such a shift. Others have trodden this path before. Scott McTominay, with 42 caps for Scotland, once faced a similar conundrum. Likewise, Matty Cash, now wearing Polish colours, also transitioned.
The Newcastle Chapter
Barnes’ club journey has its own tale. The £39 million man dazzled in his Newcastle debut at St James’ Park, both scoring and assisting. However, subsequent outings haven’t added to his tally.
Interestingly, there’s a buzz around Newcastle, sparked by club legend Alan Shearer. Is manager Eddie Howe shielding Barnes for something grander? The upcoming Champions League showdown, which sees the Magpies pitted against stalwarts like AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, and Borussia Dortmund, might hold the answer.
Quoting Shearer from The Rest is Football podcast, “It won’t be long [until Newcastle are starting him]. Just waiting for Champions League football to start, Gary, and then he can play.”
In the end, whether it’s the club’s European ambitions or Barnes’ international aspirations, the coming months promise riveting football narratives. One can only wait and watch.