John Barnes has used the example of Raheem Sterling’s £49m move from Liverpool to Manchester City as part of a case study into the struggles of young English talent.
The 21-year-old acrimoniously left Anfield last summer but has featured fleetingly as Manuel Pellegrini, the City manager, struggles to secure Champions League qualification in Eastlands.
Despite winning the Capital One Cup in his first season with the Manchester club, defeating his former employers at Wembley last month, Kop legend Barnes believes Sterling made a mistake.
“What I always say is that young players who do well for one season and have got great potential should stay at their clubs for four or five years,” Barnes told Omnisport.
“Until you’re sure of a four or five-year-period of consistent quality, all you are is potential. And unfortunately in this day and age and all of a sudden they go. John Stones, look at him now.
“So I said for Raheem’s sake that he should forget the money and should have stayed at Liverpool for himself to improve, where he’s not being judged as a £50m player who’s earning £180,000 a week.
“He’s just judged as a player who’s come through the ranks. But he’s gone to Manchester City and you can see what’s actually happened.”
Barnes says other English players, including Everton’s Ross Barkley, should remain at their present clubs and prove their abilities before becoming typecast as expensive flops.
He added: “So that is why with Ross Barkley it’s the same, he should stay at Everton, Harry Kane at Tottenham. Stay there to prove that you can do this for four or five years, not just one season.
“Then if you’re ready for a move to what you may consider a bigger club, you’re able to handle it. You’ve improved, you’re the finished article, then you can be judged as a £50m player.”Reuse content