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Brendan Rodgers backing Harvey Barnes to become ‘top player’ in coming years

West Ham United v Leicester City – Premier League – London Stadium
(Image credit: Yui Mok)

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has tipped Harvey Barnes to become one of England’s best players in the next few years.

Barnes signed a new four-year deal with his boyhood club on Thursday after a superb 2020-21 campaign in which he scored 13 times in all competitions and made his England debut before a knee injury cut short his season.

And Rodgers feels there is more to come from the “humble” 23-year-old, who has been at the club since he was eight years old.

“He’s obviously had wonderful support from his parents and the club and both of those have always looked to develop his talent,” Rodgers said ahead of Monday’s Premier League game at West Ham.

“I believe he’s going to become a really, really top player in these next few years.

“When I came in you could see the talent but he needed to score more goals and week by week he started to do that.

“Unfortunately we missed him an awful lot at the tail end of last season but he’s come back, he’s getting fitter and over the next few years he’s going to turn into one of the countries top talents.

“I think the only thing that will stop him will be availability. If he can stay injury-free, get that little bit of luck, you can just see his game coming together

“He’s got that hunger and is gaining confidence all the time. What’s great about Harvey is he’s a very humble boy, he doesn’t get carried away with it. He comes in with a wonderful attitude.

“I’m absolutely delighted he’s re-signed, I think he’s enjoying it here. He’s a really clever boy, very coachable, and he’s hungry to be the best player he can be and that’s the type of player and person you want to work with.”

Rodgers was also full of praise for veteran striker Jamie Vardy after the 34-year-old scored the winner against Wolves on the opening day of the season.

“He’s a brilliant player,” Rodgers added. “He looked great over pre-season, went into the game last week and his running, his penetration, his pressing – everything what’s good about Jamie was there.

“And that opportunism, how he reads it, gets across the post and gets that touch and finish was sensational, so hopefully many more of them goals over the course of the season.”

Leicester remain without Wesley Fofana, Jonny Evans and Ryan Bertrand for their trip to the capital.

Fofana suffered a fractured fibula during a recent friendly against Villarreal, while Evans is still recovering from a foot problem as he targets a return after next month’s international break.

Bertrand is ruled out after testing positive for Covid-19 ahead of the game against Wolves, but Timothy Castagne is available following an eye injury.