England boss Gareth Southgate stressed Harvey Barnes is “a player we like a lot” while also emphasising the competition he faces amid talk of the winger possibly switching allegiance to Scotland.
Barnes is reported to be considering a switch three years on from winning his sole England cap to date in a friendly against Wales.
At a press conference ahead of Tuesday’s friendly clash with Scotland at Hampden Park, Southgate said of the 25-year-old: “He’s obviously a player who has played for us.
“We’ve got a lot of competition in that area of the pitch. He’s a player we’re always monitoring and he’s a player we like a lot.”
Southgate was asked about on a potential swap of allegiances for Barnes and Newcastle team-mate Elliot Anderson, who has played for both countries at youth level and received a call-up to the Scotland squad last month, only to be forced to withdraw due to injury.
Southgate said: “Both very good players. With Elliot, again I think he’s a player that has progressed really well. We’ve previously spoken with him, but of course he was named in the squad here, so assumed that was that.
“I thought he had an excellent pre-season with Newcastle, you could see that evolution that he’s got as a young player and the potential he’s got. I know Newcastle rate him very highly.
“I don’t know is the answer to the ultimate question for either player, but there are going to be more and more of these sorts of situations.
“There are so many players with dual or triple nationality now, it is very complicated for every country, and sometimes you can’t offer the player something as quickly as they’d like.
“We’ve benefited from it and lost players because of it, and I think that’s always going to be the case.”
Southgate was joined at the press conference by Newcastle full-back Kieran Trippier, who said of Anderson: “As the gaffer said, in pre-season he’s been unbelievable. It was good for him last year to stay with us and not go out on loan again, to gain that experience.
“He’s a great lad with great potential. We’ve had talks, but he went away with Scotland. That’s his decision, it is ultimately up to him.”