Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Does Ashley Barnes deserve an international call-up?

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 3 Sep 2019

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One of the running jokes on my Twitter timeline when talking about Ashley Barnes and an England call-up is that he is Austrian. The Burnley striker qualifies for Austria due to his grandmother and he has reportedly expressed an interest in playing for the country.

If you check the Premier League official website his nationality is actually listed as Austrian. This likely because the forward made one appearance for Austria’s under-20 squad 11 years ago.

However, it was revealed in a 2018 article by Sky Sports that Barnes cannot play for Austria because he does not have an Austria passport. He has not received a call up to their squad, so presumably he still does not possess an Austrian passport.

Unfortunately, it seems that England boss Gareth Southgate is not keen on calling the forward up to his Three Lions squad either.

Barnes is maturing well at Burnley

Ashley Barnes has scored four times in his first four Premier League appearances this season. Only Manchester City pair Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling, and Norwich forward Teemu Pukki have scored more top-flight goals this season.

However, Barnes goalscoring in the top-flight has not just started this season. The 29-year-old has progressively become more prolific in recent seasons. Last season he scored 12 times in the top-flight. To put that into perspective that is the same number of League goals as Manchester United’s £75million striker Romelu Lukaku.

The previous season he scored nine and the campaign before that six. It seems that Barnes is maturing like a fine wine. He is just getting better with age.

Doesn’t fit into Southgate’s selection criteria

If Barnes was under 25, then there is a serious possibility that he would be in the latest England squad. However, England boss Southgate is attempting to build a team for the future. Therefore, he seems to ignore older players when looking at squad selection.

In one way this good forward planning. However, there is also a sense of ageism in Southgate’s policy too. The oldest outfield players in the squad are Danny Rose and Jordan Henderson. At 29 they are the same age as Barnes.

However, both players are established players in the squad. It must be depressing for some players who are late bloomers to know that no matter how well they play and how many goals they score they are unlikely to get an international call-up.

Barnes does not come across as the sort of guy who will give up if of course he actually has the desire to play for the country of his birth.

Just needs to concentrate on performing for Burnley

There are few doubts that Ashley Barnes will just keep doing what he has been doing for Burnley in recent seasons and keep scoring goals. Unless he gets an Austrian passport, it seems unlikely that he will be playing for his grandmothers’ national side or England anytime soon.

The Clarets have enjoyed a mixed start to their Premier League campaign. Sean Dyche’s teams first aim this season is to avoid another relegation scrap. The Clarets started the campaign as one of the favourites for relegation.

However, Burnley are now odds of 11/4 to suffer relegation this season. The team from the north west look in better shape than last season when they were heavily involved in the fight for Premier League survival.

Barnes goals were vital last season in keeping the Clarets in the top-flight last season. The striker and everybody associated with Dyche’s team will be hoping his goals can propel his team further up the Premier League table this season.

Does Ashley Barnes deserve an international call-up?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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