Harvey Barnes

Harvey Barnes: City’s Talented Academy Graduate

After a look at Jamie Vardy, Çağlar Söyüncü and Kasper Schmeichel’s 2019/20 seasons, LCFC.com next analyses the efforts of Academy graduate Harvey Barnes.
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The current campaign has certainly been a breakthrough one for the Countesthorpe-based winger, who at the age of 22 has already gathered a wealth of experience.

His rise through the Club’s Academy set up saw him deployed in various attacking positions, showcasing a direct and fearsome forward ability that has become a vital part of his game.

You have to look back to 2016, when at the age of 18, just two days before his 19th birthday, he made his first team debut in a UEFA Champions League group stage clash with FC Porto at the 50,000-capacity Estádio do Dragão.

City had already qualified as group winners when Claudio Ranieri fielded a much-changed starting XI against future Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espírito Santo’s side.

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Harvey Barnes
Harvey Barnes

The wideman made his first team bow in a UEFA Champions League clash with FC Porto.

Although the scoreline didn’t reflect favourably on what was otherwise a brilliant Champions League group campaign, it was a night to remember for one member of the squad in particular.

Barnes was named as a substitute on a cool mid-December evening in Portugal’s bustling coastal city, and when Danny Drinkwater took a knock and limped off, Ranieri signalled to the teenager.

Donning a red no.39 shirt, Barnes was introduced with 14 minutes to play, joining fellow Academy graduate Ben Chilwell on the pitch.

“It wasn’t the result that we were looking for, but personally it’s a big achievement for me," he said after the game. "It’s such a big occasion, so I’m over the moon with it.

“I was told on Monday morning that I’d be travelling with the first team and I’ll be in the squad.

“I wasn’t expecting to come on, so all of a sudden I got an adrenaline rush and that got me up for it straight away.

“It was brilliant. If you do well in training and people notice, then you get your chances. I just want to keep on progressing and improving on a personal level.”

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Harvey Barnes & Ben Chilwell
Harvey Barnes & Ben Chilwell

The winger is one of several Academy graduates to make his Premier League debut in recent seasons.

It was clear that Barnes was ready for regular first team involvement, and the following month he joined MK Dons on loan, scoring five times in 21 Sky Bet League 1 appearances.

More loan action followed in 2017/18, when at Championship side Barnsley he spent five months and returned another five goals, before being recalled by the Foxes in January 2018.

He made five first appearances for City before the 2017/18 campaign came to a close – a spell of games that included a Premier League bow against Southampton. 

Perhaps Barnes’ most productive and impressive loan spell, though, came in 2018/19, when at West Bromwich Albion, he scored nine times as the Baggies sought out a return to the Premier League.

Such was his form, Leicester recalled Barnes for a second time, with his maiden Premier League start coming in a 4-3 defeat by Wolves at Molineux Stadium, where his deflected effort briefly saw the visiting side level matters.

He wheeled away in celebration, but it eventually went down as a Conor Coady own goal. However, that elation eventually returned in April 2019, when he finally bagged his first Premier League strike.

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Harvey Barnes & Kelechi Iheanacho
Harvey Barnes & Kelechi Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho celebrates with Harvey Barnes after the latter scores his first-ever Premier League goal.

With the giant screens at London Stadium indicating West Ham United were holding a 2-1 advantage with only injury time to play, Barnes raced onto a pass from Youri Tielemans before slotting beyond Łukasz Fabiański to net a dramatic, late equaliser.

He finished 2018/19 with one goal, two assists and 16 Premier League appearances to his name, laying the foundations for his first full season in England’s top flight as a Fox.

It’s 2pm on Saturday 24 August, 2019, and for the second game running, following a goalless draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Barnes is named as a substitute.

The South Yorkshire sun is belting down at Bramall Lane, and two minutes after Oli McBurnie cancels out Jamie Vardy’s opener, manager Brendan Rodgers calls over Barnes, who has just finished warming up on the touchline.

Six minutes later, and he scores what will no doubt be one of the best goals of his professional career.

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Harvey Barnes vs. Sheffield United

A rocket from Leicester City Academy graduate Harvey Barnes to secure our 2-1 victory at Sheffield United.

Christian Fuchs manages to recycle a City corner, and it’s Söyüncü who rises highest to the cross, as the Turkey international nods the ball down onto the edge of the box.

Barnes connects, and the half-volley roars past the rooted Dean Henderson and into the back of the net, deservedly earning him August’s Goal of the Month award.

It was the first of seven goals in all competitions in 2019/20, with three coming back-to-back in the Premier League across January and February.

A fine solo effort against Burnley – the town in which he was born – another strike against West Ham and the opener against Chelsea saw him hit a rich vein of form, and there was more to come.

City’s most recent Premier League fixture ended in a 4-0 success over Aston Villa, with Barnes scoring twice – his first-ever professional brace – and setting up both of Vardy’s goals at King Power Stadium.

His 2019/20 record currently sits at six goals and six assists in 27 appearances. He is joint-11th for assists made, and is the joint-fourth highest midfield goalscorer, alongside James Maddison, in England’s top flight this term.

“Anyone loves scoring goals, I love it myself,” Barnes said in a recent interview with LCFC TV. “Every time I go out on the pitch, I’m looking to score. 

“They weren’t flowing as well as I’d have liked, but since the turn of the year they have been.”

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