In-form Harvey Barnes has revealed his desire to seal a place in England’s squad for the upcoming European Championships.
With Euro 2020 pushed back a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Barnes – who has scored 12 goals in 31 games this term – has one eye on the summer ahead of Leicester’s trip to Slavia Prague in the Europa League last 32.
Barnes, who also has three assists to his name so far this season, made his England debut against Wales in October and wants to ensure he is in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the delayed tournament.
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“As an English player the European Championship has to be a motivation, to make sure you’re in that squad at the end of the season,” Barnes said, who is looking to add to his three Europa League goals on Thursday from six matches.
“Everyone can see the strength in depth and quality England have, so it’s not an easy task for anyone.
“As long as I can keep my club form as good as it has been, and keep improving for the rest of the season, hopefully I’ll give myself the best possible chance of that.
“Over the last 12 months or so I’ve been really happy stats-wise. Improving my numbers on goals and assists is something I identified before the start of the season.”
Barnes helped the Foxes top Group G and they host Slavia – who are top of the Czech First League as they look to defend their title – in the second leg next week.
Boss Brendan Rodgers has never got past this stage of the competition having failed twice with Liverpool and twice with Celtic but insisted it is not playing on his mind.
“It’s an experience, it’s in the past. I never worry so much because it won’t benefit us now,” he said.
“We want to do well in the competition, we won the group and we have a tough game, we are all every excited about the European challenge and we want to qualify for the last 16.
“We know we are going to have to work really well. We are looking forward to the challenge, it’s important to play well and accept the challenge of Slavia.”
The Foxes will travel without Ayoze Perez after he suffered a knee injury in the 3-1 win over Liverpool on Saturday, while Timothy Castagne and Wesley Fofana remain out with hamstring problems.
Ricardo Pereira will remain at home as his workload is managed following his return from a long-term knee injury and James Justin will have an operation on his damaged anterior cruciate ligament on Thursday.
Rodgers added: “You are managing the energy levels. The players have been absolutely brilliant. There is no way you can play the same players in every game. You have to manage the energy.”
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