With the transfer deadline approaching Giles Barnes is still being strongly linked with a move to Premiership side Tottenham Hotspur. With Spurs veteran Dutch midfielder Edgar Davids looking to leave the North London club, it is believed Spurs boss Martin Jol is keen to sign Barnes, who he has likened to former Rams favourite Tom Huddlestone.
The Rams sit top of the Championship, and Coach Billy Davies has stated he wants to keep his strongest squad, unless the transfer fee is beneficial to Derby County Football Club. Barnes who, like Huddlestone before him, has come up through the ranks at Pride Park and become a firm Rams’ favourite. The teenager is equally at home up front or in midfield, and has been known to do a job at centre back.. Davies said: ‘I am trying to build a team and part of that building job includes Giles.”
Davies has already made it clear he wants Barnes to be part of the long-term future of the club. He said: ‘If a club comes along offering stupid money then of course, as a club, we would have to consider that offer, not only for Giles but for any of our players.
‘He has still got a number of years of development ahead and he is better being a consistent performer week in, week out with Derby rather than moving on to a bigger and better club in theory and not getting a game.
‘Eventually, Giles and the other good young players we have will outgrow Derby County or will take this club into the Premier League, which is what we hope they do.’
At just 18-years-old, Barnes has been a regular in the Rams side that has done so well this season, and the promising youngster has already struck winning goals against Barnsley, West Brom and Leeds in the current campaign, and has caused defenders all sorts of problems whether he’s playing in central midfield, out on the right, or up front. He also hit a stunning equaliser in the 2-2 draw at Cardiff. But with new signings David Jones and Stephen Pearson in midfield will Barnes still get regular first team opportunities at Pride Park?
Jol is keen to continue with his policy of snapping up young English talent at Spurs, and has had a scout watching Barnes for the last four weeks and has been impressed by the England U19 star. Barnes, though, remains undeterred by speculation and said he would like to stay at Pride Park. ‘Derby is where I want to be and I can get into the Premiership with this club,’ he said. ‘They have given me my chance and I want to repay them and the fans for believing in me.
‘I’ve got a great manager who is showing me everything that he’s seen since he was a young player. There are also some great senior professionals around me as well.
‘It’s just great to be learning and playing games.’
Barnes’ loyalty is to be admired, though it would be severely tested should Spurs make their move with an offer that Derby couldn’t refuse?
Rams boss Davies has spoken to the youngster and told him to forget the speculation and concentrate on developing his game at Derby, the same advice he gave young players in his time at Preston North End.
‘I told David Nugent the same thing at Preston,’ said the Rams manager.
‘Sometimes it is not always wise to jump and move to bigger and better things. Sometimes it is best being patient and waiting for the right thing to come along at the right time.
‘I think that was crucial with David Nugent who did have a couple of opportunities to move on.
‘That extra year or two of experience and playing regularly, that bit of time and delay can actually work in a player’s favour.
‘With young players, work ethic is the base of their success. He (Barnes) has wonderful potential and a great future ahead of him but he must continue to work hard. You cannot take your foot off the gas in this game because it can bite you on the backside.
‘He has a long way to go and a lot to do. He cannot rest on his laurels – none of us can because we are not good enough, including Giles Barnes.
‘That is not me being over-critical, it is just me giving him advice.
‘Young players have flaws in their game and it is my job to keep their feet on the ground.’
We will have to wait and see tomorrow when the transfer window closes, but Barnes and Davies have more pressing matters, a Championship clash at Pride Park against Burnley tonight (7.45pm). Davies hopes the rested players, from Saturday`s cup victory come back fresh. Davies told the official club website: “We rested a few legs at the weekend so we’ll be bringing players back tonight,’ explained Davies
“But I’ve said before that it doesn’t matter who plays, whether it’s league or cup, it will be horses for courses between now and the end of the season.
“Every single member of our staff needs to be ready for every battle we face.’
“Tonight`s game will be a very tough match and again we will have to be at our very best to pick up the three points. We know what to expect – they’ll make it extremely hard for us, it will be a battle for sure.”