What happens to Harvey Barnes after a heart injury
Posted On April 28, 2021
That’s not how things should have ended for Harvey Barnes.
If his last campaign was his breakthrough season, it was the year he flirted as a Premier League superstar. Now, thanks to a knee injury he suffered against Arsenal in late February, he could be forced to watch from the stands of the club he has been in since the youngster won their first FA Cup and secured football in the Champions League.
Before his injury, Barnes was the key man of the Foxes. Starting with a fine strike in his side’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United on boxing day, Barnes managed to score six goals and three assists in the Premier League after Christmas.
Some of his contributions were also decisive. With Leicester 1-0 against the disgusting team Crystal Palace, Barnes slipped through the crowd of red and blue shirts before shooting a left foot into the bottom corner with seven minutes to play. In addition, his clinical strike in the Foxes’ 3-1 victory over Liverpool in February killed the game.
His electric winter uniform even positioned him as an outsider to make England’s Euro 2020, and the fact that Gareth Southgate can now take 26 players would reinforce Barnes’ case. Still, instead of taking off around the continent in the summer, Barnes will work hard behind the scenes, meekly planning to return stronger than ever next season.
The only possible obstacle to his return will be finding a place for him to enter the new formation of Brendan Rodgers 3-4-1-2. Earlier in the season, Barnes was the main threat to the Foxes, playing as a left winger in 4-2-3-1. However, Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy are emerging as the best duo in the Premier League after Sutton and Shearer, which probably means that Rodgers will continue with two in front as their system for next season.
Thus, it seems that there are two potential positions that Barnes can play. One possibility is the wing. He certainly has the physical character to excel in the role, but it is not ideal to play a player of his influence with too much defensive responsibility.
An alternative could be to turn the broad man into a central striker. This makes sense for many reasons.
Most notably, Leicester is on the lookout for Vardy’s long-term successor. Although the 34-year-old man is far from exploding, there is a growing feeling among believers that his recent fitness problems may mitigate some of his explosiveness and clinical benefits.
Instead of immersing themselves in a complex transfer market this summer, Leicester may now have a ready-made alternative to Vardy in Barnes. The similarities between the couple are clear. Both have a fast pace and are not afraid to physically engage defenders.
Fearlessness also passes through each player like a stick of stone. One of the most enduring things about Barnes is his refreshing direct dribble, a trait he seems to have snatched straight from Vardy’s playbook.
After all, there are similarities. Barnes was once considered reckless at the door, but this season has improved significantly. During the 2019/2020 campaign, he performed weaker than his xG by 2.7, with only six Premier League players doing worse.
This time he made the most of his chances, beating his xG by 2.8 – the 13th best figure in the division. Vardy is one of many players to have won the final bets, with figures suggesting he should have scored five more goals than he has managed so far.
A closer look at Leicester’s current system gives additional hope for a smooth transition for the 23-year-old. More than ever, Vardy was pulling wide to make up for the lack of outside and outside wings. As a result, Barnes could still cut to the left, as he has done effectively over the past few seasons.
It all sounds very promising, but Foxes fans have to accept that the potential change is likely to come with a few problems with teething. Barnes certainly didn’t look too comfortable when he led Arsenal earlier in the season, with Vardy having to come and save the day. Saying that with Iheanacho acting as a foil and Rodgers changing his game on the training field, nothing prevents him from rediscovering himself as an explosive center-forward