Harvey Barnes Scotland debate resurfaces as Craig Levein quote stands time test
Craig Levein hung his hopes on Harvey Barnes' Scotland switch back in 2021 - and now his killer verdict might just be coming true.
The winger has only made one cap for England despite lighting the Premier League up for Brendan Rodgers at Leicester City, with his solo turnout coming all the way back in 2020 for a 14-minute came against Wales - when the the Three Lions were already 3-0 up against their domestic rivals.
Despite 28 top-flight league goals in three seasons from out wide, it's tough to break into an England set-up that boasts the likes of Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and more - but England's loss could be Scotland's gain. Barnes qualifies for the Tartan Army as his grandparents were born north of the border, and reports over the weekend have suggested that he is 'considering' a switch to Steve Clarke's side after being shunned by Gareth Southgate - despite Malky Mackay's efforts to land him for the SFA back in 2020.
And, with talk heating up and fans salivating over the prospect of pinching the £39million star, a Craig Levein prediction from the vaults has stood the test of time as the former Scotland boss nailed his prediction.
Speaking on BBC Sportsound in October 2020, Levein said of Barnes: "He's a top quality player, isn't he? He's a top quality attacking player, and sometimes we talk about strikers but you just need to look at Man City and the way they play - sometimes that isn't the most important thing. Another good player added to the squad would be really important, and would give Steve more options."
Of course, Barnes is now at Newcastle as he aims to play in the first Champions League game of his career, after the Magpies finished fourth in the Premier League last season. And it was his £39m move to Tyneside that, if he does switch allegiances, would make him the most expensive Scottish footballer of all-time.
Darren Jackson got in on the act himself; adding to Levein's thoughts by suggesting just where Barnes could play.
Jackson continued: "He's not a striker but I think he's one that could come in and play off the front. I don't know if Scotland have tried and he's maybe just waiting for England, but when you look at the areas he's playing just now - you've got Jack Grealish, [Marcus] Rashford, [Raheem] Sterling, [Jadon] Sancho."
England have had further additions out wide since. Jarrod Bowen has taken off at West Ham, Phil Foden is capable of playing out wide, and of course Bukayo Saka is arguably the most exciting winger in world football right now - which only strengthens Barnes' Scotland case.
Jackson added: "I think he would be a fantastic addition. His attitude looks brilliant when I watch Leicester. As I say, he's not a striker but I think he could go in and play in there."