The Interview (Ashley Barnes)
Clarets striker Ashley Barnes is loving life at Turf Moor, little worries the striker which has been clear since he arrived in the Premier League. No matter how famous the club is that he is facing, or how much stick he gets from the opposition supports he is always ready to fight for three points to keep the Clarets in the Premier League.
Burnley has proved a happy place to be for sometime now as the Lancashire outfit have become an established Premier League club, thanks in no small part to the striker. He started the season with four goals in the opening three games and has since taken his Premier League goal tally to thirty-eight before getting injured towards the send of 2019.
Is it true that when you were growing up you were a goalkeeper?
Yeah, I played in goal for a team called Bath Arsenal which also included Scott Sinclair it was great, I would throw the ball to him and he would score the goals which saw us win almost every week. I used to go and watch my dad’s team and was stupid enough to go in goal so that the men’s team could take shots at goal, I loved diving around in all the mud saving the shots. I changed positions to become a striker as I moved into the semi-pro leagues with Paulton Rovers.
Having started your career in the Southern League with Paulton Rovers were you intimidated by the more experienced non-league defenders?
Yeah of course, they would kick lumps out of me every single week, but all of that stood me in good stead and it got me ready to progress into the professional game. I dont think you see that anymore as there are so many good players at the lower levels of football that just deserve an opportunity but don’t get spotted. I will always remember were I came from in football and I am still close to the Paulton Rovers manager Andrew Jones today, because he give me my first opportunity when he chucked me into the first team at sixteen and I started scoring goals.
How did you big break into the Football League come about?
I was playing for Paulton Rovers in the Southern League, when Cardiff City came in for me offering me a youth contract, but I didn’t want that at the time because I was playing men’s football at a good standard. I knew that other offers would come if I continued performing well and score goals, Ian Holloway then called me from Plymouth Argyle and said that he wanted to sign me so I went down to Plymouth to train with them for a week and played in a couple of games before he offered me a professional contract.
You later joined Brighton under Gus Poyet how did he influence your career?
I initially joined Brighton Hove Albion on loan before going back to Plymouth at the end of the season, during that summer I sat down with the manager Peter Reid who advised me that the club had gone into administration and selling me would give the club some funds. So that summer I joined Brighton and we won promotion in my first season at the club, I scored the winner in a 4-3 win at the Withdean Stadium. Poyet really did help my career by adapting my game so that I can play in any position across the front line or in midfield.
After Joining the Clarets you were expected to be a back-up striker so how did it feel to score the goal that took them into the Premier League?
Having joined Burnley in the January transfer window of that season, I knew that I would have to wait for my opportunity as Danny ings and Sam Vokes were flying. However Ings got injured and then after that Sam Vokes had a bad knee injury which kept him out for the rest of the season so I got a run in the team. Scoring that goal against Wigan Athletic which was a great team and something that I will always remember.
Having started playing in the non-league how did it feel to play for Burnley in the Europa League against Aberdeen, İstanbul Başakşehir and Olympiacos?
It was massive thing for me and I would say the highlight of my career so far, I didn’t think I would ever play in the Premier League let alone the Europa League. As a young boy I just wanted one game to show what I could do in the Premier League, but now I have made 158 appearances, scoring 28 Premier League goals. Then to qualify for the Europa League was a hugh achievement not just for me but for the club and the town to be back representing the country in Europe again after over fifty years.
You nearly became an Austria International footballer last year however their government said you did not meet the criteria how did this all come about?
Yes my grandma is from Austria and when she met my grandad and they moved to the UK because of the war, also whilst I was playing at Plymouth I was asked to join up with the Austria U20 squad. Last season before the World Cup I met the manager Franco Foda and he was really keen for me to join the squad, as was the Austria FA however the ministers refused to issue me a passport and that ended the Austria international dream. I would still love to play for England one day, its still a big ambition in my career.
You have recently had a grime song written about you by the artist Bacchus?
Yeah, its a good tune the lads have it on in the dressing room blasting it out. I really like the song and I know a few of the lyrics, I thing my little nephew knows it all off by heart now. I recently meet up with Bacchus and it was real pleasure.