John Barnes Slates The State Of English Football

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Concerns over the under-21’s failure revealed.

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Former Liverpool and England midfielder John Barnes has slammed the current state of the football landscape in this country during an interview with talkSPORT.

The young lions saw their European Championship campaign come to a premature end with one game remaining as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Norway.

The likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Rodwell, Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck have all been denied from coach Stuart Pearce, but Barnes has insisted that having those players available would have made little difference anyway as a change in mentality is the paramount issue that need addressing.

“We are not even producing enough players or the senior side, never mind the Under-21s,” he said.

“The way we are talking you would think we have Under-21 superstars who are being plucked away from the Under-21s and if they played they would win the Under-21 Championship. If we played our best players from the Under-21s, I still don’t think we would be good enough to win the Under-21 championship. The players aren’t there. They are not good enough.

“We still like this old British mentality of up-and-at them, get stuck in, because we are not comfortable keeping the ball if it is seemingly going nowhere.

“Spain don’t keep the ball just for the sake of it, but in England we have this attitude that, if you are keeping the ball for 20 passes without getting over the halfway line, they are doing it for no reason. We have to change our philosophy and our mentality.”

The FA have recently opened St George’s Park, a centre of excellence that they hope will rival that of Clairefontaine in France and La Masia in Spain, but Barnes believes that it may turn out to be a waste of money.

“St George’s Park and the infrastructure and the money they have spent has nothing to do with addressing the problem. It has to do with the philosophy.

“You don’t need a St George’s Park to change the philosophy, you can do that in an open park. It is the culture we have to change, nothing to do with spending £50million on a structure.”

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