England manager Gareth Southgate stressed that Harvey Barnes is “a player we like a lot” while highlighting the competition he faces amid talk of the winger possibly moving to Scotland.
Barnes is reportedly considering a move, three years after earning his only cap for England in a friendly against Wales.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against Scotland at Hampden Park, Southgate said of the 25-year-old: “He’s obviously a player who played for us.
“We have a lot of competition in this area of the field. He’s a player we’re constantly keeping an eye on and he’s a player we like a lot.”
Southgate was asked about a possible swap of allegiances between Barnes and his Newcastle team-mate Elliot Anderson, who played for both countries at youth level and was called up to the Scotland squad last month only to have to withdraw through injury.
Southgate said: “Both very good players. I also think that Elliot is a player who has made really good progress. We’ve spoken to him before but of course he was mentioned in the squad here so I assumed that was it.
“I thought he had an excellent pre-season at Newcastle. You could see the development he made as a young player and the potential he has. I know Newcastle rate him very highly.
“’I don’t know’ is the answer to the ultimate question for both players, but there will be more and more situations like this.
“Now there are so many players with dual or triple nationality that it is very complicated for each country and sometimes you cannot offer the player something as quickly as he would like.
“We benefited from it and lost players because of it, and I think that will always be the case.”
Southgate was also joined at the press conference by Newcastle full-back Kieran Trippier, who said of Anderson: “As the gaffer said, he was incredible in pre-season.” It was good for him to stay with us last year and not go out on loan again to gain these experiences.
“He is a great boy with great potential. We had discussions but he left with Scotland. That’s his decision, it’s ultimately up to him.”