Barnes claims England remain in the ‘dark ages’

Former Liverpool and Newcastle United midfielder John Barnes has hit out at English football, claiming it is still stuck in the ‘dark ages.’

As highlighted by ITV Sport, Barnes believes England’s youngsters would have struggled in this summer’s European Under-21 Championships regardless of the row over not having senior players in the squad.

Two defeats from two mean Stuart Pearce’s side have failed to live upto expectations in Israel, and will be on an early flight home after their final group game against the hosts on Tuesday.

Barnes, who represented England at two World Cup final tournaments and used to anchor Channel Five’s football coverage, believes issues with the game run deeper than just in player pool selection.

He told talkSPORT: “We are not even producing enough players for the senior side, never mind the Under-21s.

The way we’re talking you would think we have Under-21 superstars who are being plucked away from the Under-21s and if they played they would win the Under-21 Championship.

If we played our best players from the Under-21s, I still don’t think we would be good enough to win the Under-21 championship. The players aren’t there. They are not good enough.

Some of Pearce’s potential picks were denied from him, with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Phil Jones featuring recently in international friendlies for the senior setup.

Another argument has been the physical burnout some of the youngsters such as Wilfried Zaha have faced, after gruelling 10-month campaigns in the Football League.

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