Opinion: Harvey Barnes is ready to become a regular starter in the Leicester City starting XI
Harvey Barnes celebrates his first-ever Leicester City goal | Photo: Getty/ Jordan Mansfield

Following his return to the King Power Stadium after a loan spell with Championship side West Bromwich Albion, Harvey Barnes made a decent impact in the Premier League with Leicester City.

The Foxes required reinforcements out wide during the second-half of their 2018/19 campaign and Leicester-born Barnes was just the man for the job - all culminating in a new long-term contract for the starlet. However, did his performances impress enough for the youngster to become a first-team regular under Brendan Rodgers during his first full season in charge of the club?

Barnes' overall Premier League stats for the half a campaign back in the East Midlands will be compared to those of his current competition for a left midfield spot - Demarai Gray, Marc Albrighton and Rachid Ghezzal - to truly see if the Leicester-born wideman really is ready to stake a claim in the Premier League.

Competition for places

Since his return from the Hawthorns, during which Barnes yielded a return of nine goals and six assists in 26 appearances, the 21 year-old featured in 15 top-flight games with only five of those being used as a substitute.

During that time, he scored one goal and provided two assists - placing him below Demarai Gray (four goals; one assist) and Marc Albrighton (two goals; two assists) but contributed more than that of Rachid Ghezzal (one goal; zero assists). However, it is important to take into consideration Gray's spell as a number 10 and even at times a false nine striker role during Claude Puel's time in charge, hence his higher productivity.

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Chance creator

In terms of big chances created per game, Barnes is joint second with Ghezzal (three), whilst only Albrighton produced more (six) as Gray failed to produce a single big chance during the campaign. Given more games, it is possible to think that a player of Barnes' pace and direct attacking play would seriously challenge Albrighton's total. 

Defensively, Barnes' high work-rate also proved to be a good asset to have especially during Albrighton's period on the sidelines through injury, as only the later managed a higher tackle success rate (61%) than that of the youngster (60%). Furthermore, Barnes' willingness to fight for every ball is highlighted through his total of 30 successful 50/50 challenges, only bettered by Gray on 42.

Set to star in the Premier League?

Despite playing significantly less games than the rest of his team-mates, it is obvious to see that Barnes was able to step up when Leicester needed it most, resulting in an overall positive impact during his time with Foxes. Incorporating Barnes in his plans for the upcoming season will be a selection headache for Rodgers but it looks like a gamble worth taking for the Northern Irishman.

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