Throughout his taking part in profession, Liverpool & England legend John Barnes was the embodiment of honest play, having racked up 201 Premier League video games with out a single reserving. Because the honest on-line on line casino, PlayOJO spoke solely with one of the vital adorned strikers in English soccer, to get his ideas on the present state of play within the sport, and predictions for the season.


As a participant who embodied ‘honest play’, taking part in 201 Premier League video games with out a single reserving – how essential is it that gamers in the present day exemplify this, for the following era to aspire to?

I do imagine in honest play, clearly. However I don’t suppose the truth that I solely received booked as soon as has something to do with that. I need to admit, I did dive as soon as for a penalty and I did really feel responsible. I keep in mind Robbie Fowler saying to the referee “He didn’t dive, he didn’t dive!” However I did. It was an important sport in opposition to United, so I couldn’t carry myself to say I didn’t dive.

In fashionable soccer, there’s way more appropriate apply in place, by way of honest play, in comparison with the 70s and 80s, when individuals had been attempting to interrupt one another’s legs. Finally, for those who can win by being as honest as attainable, that for me is the perfect scenario. To say it’s a must to be full 100% honest and win, is just not practical.

Do you suppose it was a good choice for Jordan Pickford to go unpunished for the problem that appears to have ended Virgil van Dijk’s season?

I feel it’s honest he didn’t obtain any retrospective punishment, however he ought to have been despatched off. No matter whether or not it was an accident or not, he nonetheless ought to have been despatched off on the time. Had he really meant to trigger hurt, then retrospectively you may return and you may say, let’s ban him. Any footballer who’s performed will have a look at that and say, sure, it was a badly mistimed sort out and it ought to have been a crimson card on the time. However did he have the intent to harm him? No, he didn’t.

With Liverpool on the doubtful finish of some latest VAR selections, how do you suppose the know-how must be carried out to achieve honest selections?

VAR is being carried out pretty, however I feel it’s too ambiguous for individuals to know precisely implement it. It comes all the way down to interpretation and since one and even two VAR conditions might be perceived in a different way, I don’t imagine we will have a look at it and say, it’s not honest. Subsequently, it’s not VARs fault, it’s simply the way in which human beings are.

Do you suppose it’s honest that younger gamers like Marcus Rashford ought to really feel they should become involved to pressure political change?

Not solely is it honest for him to try this it’s completely proper and correct that he does that, as a result of he has come from the inside cities, so he is aware of the scenario, he understands. For him to make use of his platform to alter the lives of 1000’s and 1000’s of children is the proper factor to do. I want extra soccer to do issues like that.


Do you suppose Liverpool must splash the money on a brand new centre again in January to switch van Dijk?

Properly initially, Virgil is a large participant and naturally we’re going to overlook him. If we concentrate on Virgil’s harm, not solely is it disrespectful to the remainder of the staff, but it surely might have an effect on the staff’s efficiency. I feel the very best factor proper now’s that there aren’t any followers (within the stadium), as a result of If followers had been there, with Virgil not taking part in, that negativity might have translated on to the pitch.

If Liverpool go between now and January with out conceding one purpose, do we want a centre again? We are able to’t say now we have to splash the money, as a result of if we do nicely, we don’t want him. At this second in time, behind your thoughts, sure, we’re eager about a centre again. Nevertheless, I nonetheless place confidence in those we have now so to say now that we positively want one, I feel is just a little bit untimely.

What do you make of the enterprise Liverpool did within the switch window?

Thiago and Jota had been unbelievable signings alongside Minamino, who was additionally a superb signing. These three are gamers are who you wish to come into the squad ought to anybody get injured. For 2, three weeks they’ll are available in, and so they can preserve that momentum and the consistency. I feel in Jota and Thiago can play for six, seven months within the first staff and so they can proceed to make Liverpool win video games and play constantly nicely, which is what you need. As a result of I consider the previous, not simply Liverpool, however loads of Premier League sides, spend 100 million kilos on 5 gamers, however they don’t enhance.

Whereas with these two signings, if one of many entrance three will get injured, Jota can go in and do equally as nicely. Thiago can play within the midfield three and truly carry one thing by way of aptitude and creativity as nicely. It offers us not only a stability, but it surely offers us alternate options and it offers us the identical stage of consistency. So these two signings have been unbelievable.

The place do you suppose Liverpool will end the season?

I feel it will likely be first or second. After all, I’m going to say first. I need it to be first however I feel it’ll be between Liverpool and Manchester Metropolis as a result of they’re the 2 finest groups. If everybody stays match, I can say Liverpool will end first however you recognize, it’ll be between them and Man Metropolis up on the prime.

…and Champions League?

I’ve by no means actually predicted the Champions League since you don’t know who you’re going to play. I do know they’ll get far. They’ll get to the to the knockout levels, they’ll get to the quarterfinals, and naturally in the event that they play Munich they might lose. I at all times am loathed to present cup predictions as a result of even at first of the season when followers say or suppose we will have a superb FA Cup, how are you aware you don’t know who you’re taking part in? You could possibly be taking part in Man United away, Chelsea away within the third, fourth, fifth spherical and the identical might occur within the Champions League. What I do know is that as a result of the staff are the way in which they’re, they are going to undergo, they’ll get to the quarterfinals. After which relying on how the attracts go, in fact they’ll win it, however as to then say the place they’re going to get to, you may by no means inform.

Is it honest to say Liverpool can’t do the treble this season?

Liverpool can obtain treble. They in all probability received’t. And I don’t suppose they are going to, however to say that they’ll’t, why can’t they? As a result of they’ll win soccer matches. Clearly, if you concentrate on it and if maintain all people match, all people stays on kind, Liverpool can win the treble.

Liverpool has received the honest play league for the final 4 years, while turning into what many think about to be one of many Premier League’s all-time best groups, proving you don’t want an enforcer within the staff – do you suppose the notion that each groups want a ‘exhausting man’ is gone?

The notion of each staff needing to have a hardman has modified radically for the reason that 70s and 80s, as a result of the legal guidelines have modified. You don’t need a exhausting man anymore as a result of he’s going to get despatched off. The legal guidelines have helped the likes of Manchester Metropolis and Arsenal as a result of within the previous days, groups like Wimbledon, Watford, my first staff, might compete as a result of we might be overly bodily, taking it to the road and never getting despatched off. The legal guidelines have modified to take that away. The benefit of getting a tough man serving to you is gone, as a result of he’s going to get despatched off.


England confronted the daunting prospect of Belgium this weekend. So how massive of an ask is it going to be?

It’s going to be an enormous ask in fact, however England are very constant, they beat who they need to. However I feel one factor that they’ve completed now’s maximise their potential to beat who they need to beat. I feel that it’s going to be an enormous job to beat the primary staff, however Belgium are a humorous facet, as a result of even on the World Cup there was lots anticipated of them and so they got here unstuck, as expertise counts for lots.

Belgium, on paper, had been the very best staff on the World Cup, however then hastily, they performed in opposition to France, and so they didn’t carry out to their potential, with the good staff that they had with the likes of Lukaku and De Bruyne. They’ve received nice gamers, participant for participant, however the lack expertise. It’s going to be exhausting, however I feel I feel England can do okay.

Do you suppose Gareth Southgate is able to getting extra from the England staff?

Nope, I don’t suppose Gareth Southgate is able to getting extra. He’s maximising their potential. The Premier League is the strongest league with the very best gamers. Nevertheless, the power of the Premier League is within the international gamers. Because the Premier League is the considered strongest league, there may be an expectation that England must be profitable trophies.

Who’s England’s finest present alternative in purpose?

What I don’t go for is present kind as a result of for those who do this, you’ll be altering your staff each month. For me, it’s about creating concord, perception, understanding organisation, so Pickford is the primary goalkeeper, regardless that on the minute he will not be taking part in significantly nicely.

Who’s the very best England participant you performed with?

Bryan Robson, Gazza was sensible, however Robson by way of a midfield attacking participant and defensive minded – the all-round bundle.

Finest participant worldwide you performed in opposition to?

Diego Maradona – I feel he was the best participant by way of what he did on the pitch.


The 1980s was a horrible decade for sport and tradition. How was it for you as a 20-year-old coming by way of again then? And do you see any similarity with now. How a lot progress has actually occurred within the final thirty years?

The 80s was the worst decade by way of the overt racism. That’s plain as a result of now, you don’t have bananas being thrown on the sector. However for those who have a look at what’s occurring for black individuals usually, nothing has modified within the inside cities. So in fact, for footballers, it could have gotten higher by way of the overt racism. The very fact now that you simply’ve received so many black gamers taking part in all around the leagues, you don’t should be higher than a white participant whereas within the 70s, and 80s, you probably did.

You wouldn’t have black gamers taking part in for the lesser groups, like Crawley however now you have a look at League One and League Two there’s a a lot greater common of black gamers and there’s no stigma, there’s no notion of their capacity primarily based on their color. Whereas again within the 70s, and 80s, there was. We additionally want to handle the dearth of range at administration stage, as we nonetheless have that drawback and that’s primarily based on the notion of black individuals.

It’s nothing to do with black soccer managers, this can be a wider situation as a result of what number of black managers are there within the greater echelons of any trade? And why ought to soccer be any completely different? Till we sort out it in society, and we modify our perceptions in society, it should exist in all walks of society, which soccer is one.

You possibly can’t change buildings and legal guidelines, it’s a must to change perceptions. As a result of there are at all times methods round these buildings. The Rooney Rule got here within the NFL in 2003 as a result of the league solely had three black coaches, right here we’re 17 years later, what number of black coaches have they got? Three. So you may put buildings in place, however till you alter your notion, nothing will change. I exploit Klopp for instance. How profitable was he actually within the first two years by way of being 25 factors off the highest? However we believed that he was the fitting man.

Beneath completely different circumstances, he would have misplaced his job. If he was black, he would have misplaced his job in these first two years. If he was English, he would have misplaced his job. That is the place the thought of discrimination is just a little bit unusual as a result of there’s a bunch of people who find themselves discriminated in opposition to in English soccer and the very highest stage within the Premier League, I imply within the prime six groups, and they’re white English managers.

Do I detect scepticism on the subject of campaigns like No Room For Racism?

They will don’t have any affect on racism in sport. As a result of simply by placing up a banner that claims No Room For Racism, the way it’s going to alter individuals’s perceptions? By Raheem Sterling saying, “No Room For Racism,” a Man Metropolis fan who likes him could take heed to him, however they in all probability wouldn’t. However for 99% of followers who don’t help Man Metropolis, will they be influenced by Raheem Sterling once we say No Room For Racism?

These are particular person ideas that folks have to alter themselves and it must be made by them. Soccer can carry the difficulty to the desk however it could possibly’t change the issue. Society has to alter an issue. However what soccer can do, as Marcus Rushford has completed, is spotlight the issue, carry it to the desk, let’s speak about it. Let’s debate, let’s put stress on individuals to do one thing about it. That’s what he’s completed. Even the entire thought of strolling off the pitch, which is ridiculous imagine as a result of if that’s going to make a distinction, do you suppose {that a} racist soccer fan goes to not be racist?

What we’ve discovered for a whole lot of years, we don’t see ladies as equal, we don’t see blacks as equal. Now there are levels of it, not that you simply’re going to abuse anybody or essentially really feel that I’m superior to you. We’ve got sure perceptions of various teams of individuals primarily based on what we’ve been taught. That’s what we have now to analyse inside ourselves, however we don’t, we simply wait for somebody to get caught and say they’re unsuitable as a result of I’m not like that in any respect. And till we have a look at it ourselves, nothing will change.

Do you help the Premier League’s feeling tacking the difficulty of racism in soccer?

Completely. I help them utilizing their profile to maintain the difficulty within the information agenda however now we have now to go that step additional. As a result of as I mentioned, Say No To Racism been round since I performed within the Champions League 20 years in the past and what has modified? Nothing has modified. Think about what footballers can do to make use of their platform and their profile to essentially make a distinction within the inside cities for black individuals?

What affect do you suppose twitter has had on soccer?

To start with, for those who can’t take abuse, don’t go on Twitter. Don’t flip round and say “Oh, I’m being abused, I’m being bullied and one thing must be completed”. Don’t go on Twitter then. I’m a bit old skool in that respect, however I’ve no sympathy for people who find themselves crying foul on Twitter after they’re utilizing Twitter for their very own finish. Twitter is a spot to cover for idiots nobody can say something to me on Twitter that upsets me. I don’t think about people who find themselves abusing individuals to be clever. Very very like after I was taking part in, racism by no means trouble me in any respect as a result of I think about these individuals to be ignorant.


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