The 2019/20 season was a breakthrough one for Barnes, as he cemented himself as a key player in Brendan Rodgers’ City side. Although limited by injury in 2020/21, the Countesthorpe local nevertheless further added credence to his status as an exciting talent in the Premier League.
With quick feet and the ability to score superb solo goals, the wide midfielder has carried the tag of a rising star for several years. Over recent seasons, Leicester's No.7 has lived up to that reputation, scoring over 30 goals and winning major silverware for the Club he joined as a youngster.
A product of City’s Academy, he has been with the Club since the age of nine. He made his first team debut away at FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League in December 2016, before joining MK Dons on loan for the second half of the season, where he scored five goals in 23 appearances under former Fox Robbie Neilson.
He returned to Filbert Way in May to register a brace for the Under-23s against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane and was rewarded with the Development Squad Player of the Season award. During the summer of 2017, the Countesthorpe youngster penned a new four-year deal with the Club before joining Championship side Barnsley on loan, scoring five times in 14 outings.
He was recalled to King Power Stadium in January 2018 and soon made his domestic debut for the Foxes in an Emirates FA Cup Third Round stalemate at Fleetwood Town. His Premier League debut followed as he came off the bench to feature against Southampton in April 2018.
That summer, Barnes joined West Bromwich Albion on a temporary deal, scoring nine Championship goals in 26 appearances for the Baggies before being recalled in January 2019.
His first Foxes goal came in April 2019 - a last-gasp equaliser in the Club's 2-2 draw with West Ham United. Following the signing of a new contract at the Club in the summer of 2019, Barnes has become a regular starter.
He began the season in fine form, netting City’s winner - a brilliant half-volley which won the Premier League's Goal of the Month prize - at Bramall Lane in a 2-1 victory over Sheffield United in August.
And at the turn of the year, he went on a run of scoring four goals in six games, including strikes in victories over Wigan Athletic and West Ham United, as well as in a draw with Chelsea.
Further Premier League goals came versus his hometown club Burnley and two against Midlands rivals Aston Villa. In 2020/21, before a knee injury cut his season short, Barnes netted 13 goals in all competitions, later returning to star in the 2021/22 FA Community Shield, while also making his full England debut in a 3-0 win over Wales at Wembley Stadium in October 2020.
In August 2021, on the other hand, the Academy graduate signed a new contract at the Club until 2025. Forty-eight appearances were made in 2021/22 - across the Premier League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Europa Conference League, Emirates FA Cup, FA Community Shield and Carabao Cup. It was also the second season, with 11 goals, that he hit double figures in front of goal.
On the international stage, Barnes made his England Under-18s debut in a 1-0 group stage victory against Angola at the 2017 Toulon Tournament, where he also scored braces against Cuba and then Scotland in the semi-final of the competition.
The Foxes midfielder scored a penalty as the Young Lions beat Ivory Coast in the Final and ended the tournament as joint top scorer with four goals, alongside future City team-mate George Hirst. He did not have to wait long for a call-up to the Under-20s squad, which came during a 5-1 away win over Italy in October 2017.
Barnes was also part of the 23-man England squad for the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship before being selected, for the first time, in an England senior squad in October 2020. He was a second-half substitute for Gareth Southgate's men against Wales on 8 October, 2020.