Harvey Barnes: West Brom’s Present, Leicester’s Future
Harvey Barnes once again gave a shining performance on Tuesday night in West Brom’s 4-2 win over Bristol City. The Leicester City loanee is fast becoming a key component of Albion’s attacking system. He started the season out wide on the left before being moved into a more central role behind the strikers. No matter the role, the youngster has been mightily impressive so far.
Who is Harvey Barnes?
Harvey Barnes is a product of the Leicester City academy currently making waves in the Championship with West Bromwich Albion. The 20-year-old winger joined the Baggies in the summer on a season-long loan deal and has hit the ground running, beginning the season in impressive form. With the weight of expectation on his shoulders and bags of potential, Harvey Barnes continues to turn heads.
Shining at West Brom
Eight games into the Championship season and Harvey Barnes is already a firm fan favourite at The Hawthorns. Relatively unknown and just 20-years-old, his arrival at West Brom was prematurely branded as ‘underwhelming’ by some fans. An opinion put to bed from the second they saw him play.
Silky smooth in possession with quick feet and the ability to score exquisite solo goals, just like his goal of the month winner from opening day, Barnes is flourishing in Darren Moore’s free-scoring Baggies, with two assists and three goals. He is proving to be a legitimate threat each week whilst never looking out of place in a West Brom side that is still packed with most of their Premier League contingent.
Barnes has proven to be unperturbed by his gradual rise as Leicester have allowed the youngster to thrive on loan. His first experience away from the King Power Stadium was a stint in League One with MK Dons. He was thoroughly impressing at Stadium MK, scoring six goals in 21 appearances. His potential confirmed as he was awarded their Young Player of the Year award for the 2016/17 season, despite only being at the club for half the season.
Barnes’ next foray away from the King Power was to Championship side Barnsley for the 2017/18 season, where he continued his rise. He became an instant regular at Oakwell, making 23 appearances and scoring five goals before being recalled to the Leicester squad in January. The loss of Barnes arguably contributed to Barnsley’s downfall that season as they went on to be relegated.
From a Championship side looking to survive in the division to a side looking to escape it, Barnes is now tasked with playing a part in a promotion push this season with West Brom. As he continues to step up through the levels, his time at The Hawthorns will be fraught with new challenges. He will be expected to handle expectation, the likes of which he has not experienced before. If he continues to grow at this rate and continues to be unaffected by each step up he takes, the Premier League will be beckoning sooner rather than later.
For all of his travels, Barnes is a Leicester City player, and it’s clear that they wish him to remain a Fox. They made sure that he put pen to paper on a four-year deal at the King Power before completing his switch to West Brom; a clear ‘hands-off’ warning to the Baggies.
Leicester are under no pressure to sell players that they see as part of their future. It seems that Harvey Barnes is very much seen as part of that future, understandably so. He is spoken of highly by fans and management staff from each of his loan spells and is handling his rise with relative ease. He is getting better and better as he firmly inserts himself as a regular in Darren Moore’s side.
A promotion campaign may beckon for him this season with West Brom and that could force Leicester to fend off offers from the Black Country club next summer. But whether it be with West Brom, or much more likely, Leicester City, the trajectory of Harvey Barnes’ career path is propelling him into the Premier League, another step up that the youngster would take into his stride.