‘We need to produce intelligent footballers’ – John Barnes
August 2, 2013

‘We need to produce intelligent footballers’ – John Barnes

Former England footballer, Jamaican-born John Barnes, accepts that there is an abundance of football talent in the Caribbean region; however, what is lacking is the intelligence of the players.{{more}}

Barnes, who was a guest of the Buccament Bay Resort last week, expressed this in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT.

“…I would not say that they (footballers in the Caribbean) are less technically, less gifted than the Europeans or the South Americans. We are just a little bit more naïve when comes to playing as a team and understanding team football… We need to produce intelligent footballers,” Barnes advocated.

“Can you play one-touch football? Can you be aware? Can you be disciplined? And, can you be responsible? These are the qualities we need to improve,” Barnes further stated.

Barnes, a tearaway left-winger in his heyday, noted that the issues of Caribbean footballers also lie in their individualistic mindset.

“We understand individual football, because when we look at Messi and Ronaldo and people like that… we think that we just have to dribble, dribble, and dribble… But the team ethics and discipline and position responsibility is what we have to do to improve in the Caribbean,” Barnes observed.

The 49-year-old Barnes also believes that the state of the pitches in the region must also improve.

“Another of the problems we have in the Caribbean is the state of the pitches, because to improve technical ability you need to plan good pitches… It is hard to control the ball now… How can you improve the players in the Caribbean if you playing on pitches where they got stones and it is bubbling and you can’t control the ball? It is a hurdle we have to overcome,” Barnes suggested.

While here, Barnes had a one-off coaching session with the St Vincent and the Grenadines male Under-15 football team, which heads to the Cayman Islands next week for the CONCACAF competition.

Barnes is a former Watford, Charlton Athletic, Newcastle and Liverpool player, who has 79 international caps for England.

He had a brief stint as Jamaica’s senior men’s head coach in 2008, and is at present a commentator with ESPN and Super Sport. (RT)