Ten years too long

Liverpool legend is enjoying life with the Reggae Boyz

Last Updated: 07/02/09 7:22pm

Barnes: would have liked protection

John Barnes told Soccer AM that he jumped at the chance to manage Jamaica after a decade away from football.

"It would be interesting to see how players today would have faired back then too, because I can imagine Stuart Pearce playing against Cristiano Ronaldo with Cristiano doing all his tricks!"

John Barnes

Quotes of the week

The former Liverpool and Watford legend was chosen to replace Brazilian Rene Simoes, who was sacked after a string of poor performances last September.

Barnes took up the reigns officially on November 1st and he revealed he didn't hesitate to say yes when the call came.

"I didn't have to think about it at all because I've always wanted to get back into football and this was my first opportunity since my stint at Celtic 10 years ago, it was that long ago," he said.

"The president phoned me up a few hours after they lost to Honduras in a World Cup qualifier and asked me (if I would take the job) and I said, 'yes'.

"No length of contract was mentioned, no money was mentioned and I said, 'yes', hence it's only until June!"

Despite his relatively short time in charge the former England international has already tasted success with the country of his birth in the form of the Caribbean Cup.

The nation has also moved up the FIFA World Rankings since he took over and Barnes admitted he was enjoying life with the Reggae Boyz.

"I am getting paid, but I would have done it anyway because it's an opportunity and we've been doing well," he said.

"We won the Caribbean Cup, knocked Trinidad out, knocked Haiti out, and we're playing Nigeria next week. They're about 17th in the world and we've moved up to 65th from 87th."

Rampaging

Widely regarded as one of the greatest wide players ever, Barnes was a sight to behold during the '80s and '90s when his rampaging runs down the left wing would get fans across the country off their seats.

His superb solo goal for England against Brazil at Rio's Maracana Stadium in 1984 is probably the best example of the trickery, skill and speed of a very special footballer.

And he admitted he would have relished the opportunity to play in today's era when skilful and attacking players are protected by the referees.

"I think if you look at any player from any era who was quite prominent in that particular time, they would fair well in any time.

"So therefore I won't say I would fair better than any prominent player now, but as a striker I would just love to be playing now when you're not allowed to be kicked.

"It would be interesting to see how players today would have faired back then too, because I can imagine Stuart Pearce playing against Cristiano Ronaldo with Cristiano doing all his tricks!

"The interesting thing is not just the players; it would have been the whole attitude towards it. Because even if Pearcey had kicked him into the stand the referee would have gone over and said, 'come on lad, get up, get on with it'.

"It was just the attitudes back then. They didn't like players like that. A good kicking and all the fans would have loved it."