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Harvey Barnes praises Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers following England call

Arsenal v Leicester City – Premier League – Emirates Stadium
(Image credit: Michael Regan/NMC Pool)

Harvey Barnes has praised Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers for improving his game as he aims to make his England debut this week.

The 22-year-old midfielder is one of three new faces in Gareth Southgate’s 30-man squad for Thursday’s friendly with Wales and a Nations League double-header against Belgium and Denmark.

Barnes came through the ranks at Leicester but had to be patient for his chance to establish himself in the first team.

Harvey Barnes

Harvey Barnes could make his England debut this week (Nigel French/PA)

He made 36 Premier League appearances under Rodgers last season as the Foxes finished fifth – only missing out on Champions League qualification on the final day.

“As a player I have improved a lot under Brendan – I think on and off the pitch,” said Barnes.

“He has helped me tactically. He has been the one who has definitely been pushing me to add goals and to get my stats high throughout the season.

“Of course I understand it is an important thing but he has definitely made me realise how important that is and to make sure that each game at the top end of the pitch I’m creating and scoring goals.

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“It is something that is expected – definitely in his teams that’s what he expects from his attacking players – so it has been really good to work under him and hopefully I can keep on making good progress.

“I’ve been very pleased with my progression and, from the start of this season, I feel like I’ve started well. I wasn’t expecting what’s happened with England but I’ve been hopeful that with playing well and I’m really happy to be here now.”

While he was trying to find his way at Leicester, Barnes spent a number of spells away from the King Power Stadium on loan.

At MK Dons and Barnsley he continued to develop before flourishing at West Brom in the 2018/19 season.

Harvey Barnes

Barnes felt he improved as a player when on loan at West Brom (Joe Giddens/PA)

“For me it worked really well,” he said of honing his craft in the EFL.

“I was at an age where I was playing under-23s football and I felt that I needed a different challenge and push myself.

“Going out on loan was the perfect thing. My first loan was at MK Dons and each loan had a good progression, from League One up to Barnsley in the bottom half of the Championship.

“Then West Brom who were fighting for promotion, that West Brom loan was as close as I was going to get to playing Premier League football without actually playing it.

“So each one was a different challenge and each one I needed to push me on as a player.”