Young gun Barnes takes Foxes to top

Young gun Barnes takes Foxes to top

LONDON • Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers singled out midfielder Harvey Barnes for praise after his side went top of the table on Sunday with an entertaining 4-2 home defeat of Burnley, the result also marking his 100th Premier League win.

Rodgers, who narrowly missed out on winning the title with Liverpool in 2014, was also pleased with the overall performance of his team, who lead the standings on goal difference.

The Foxes are one of five teams who have won two of two games so far, and have a one-goal superior difference over Arsenal and Everton.

Wolverhampton Wanderers, who beat Sheffield United 2-0 in the first round of fixtures, were in action against Manchester City yesterday in search of a second win.

“Harvey Barnes was outstanding tonight, he keeps on getting into areas you want him to and is a big talent,” Rodgers said on the BBC of the 22-year-old. “He has wonderful ability, great running power, lasts the whole game, takes you up the pitch from deep possession and is improving all the time.”

Barnes equalised in the 20th minute – after they fell behind to an early Chris Wood strike – following some good work by Jamie Vardy. The striker shook off two defenders and laid the ball back unselfishly to Timothy Castagne who in turn squared it for Barnes to side-foot it home.

Castagne racked up another assist in the 50th minute as his fizzing low cross to Vardy was turned into his own net by Erik Pieters, with Leicester moving up a gear after the break.

James Justin netted Leicester’s third around the hour mark, before Jimmy Dunne pulled one back for the visitors in the 73rd minute.

Barnes then delivered a fine pass for Dennis Praet to seal victory with a superb shot from 18 metres.

Rodgers, who led Leicester to a fifth-placed finish last term as they missed out on Champions League football on the final day of the season, said the Foxes must keep their feet on the ground after a good start. “We stay calm, it’s only the second game. We hope to get better as the season goes on,” he said.

“How we finished in terms of league position last season was great and we want to build on that. We aim to be competitive with the talent we have.”

Barnes added that a stuttering finish last term had galvanised Leicester to make a flying start to their new Premier League campaign.

“We spoke before the game that it was a long time since we won back-to-back matches so it was important to get the result,” he said.

“At the back end of last season we weren’t up to scratch and had to improve.”