Puel hopeful recalled Barnes can give Leicester extra edge

Claude Puel recalled Harvey Barnes from his loan spell because he feels the academy product can add a different dimension to Leicester’s attacking options.

The Foxes boss has been impressed by Barnes during his spell at West Brom, where the 21-year-old contributed nine goals and six assists for the Championship side during the first half of this season.

Barnes returned to his parent club on Friday and trained with the rest of the Leicester team and Puel could include him in the squad for the Premier League match at home to Southampton on Saturday.

“He has been brought back for many reasons but the primary reason is because he can help us,” said Puel. “The player has progressed, and I would like to thank West Bromwich and their manager for giving him the opportunities to play.

“It is difficult (for West Brom) to lose a player like this but it is a good moment for him to come back and help his team-mates.

“Harvey can bring different options. He can play on the left side, he can play as a striker and he can play just behind the striker. He is an attacking player and he has penetration.

“He is a clinical player. He can start a move and finish a move. He is a complete player. These are his qualities.

“He is a player from our academy and it is pleasing to see him show personality and character in his game, I like this. Before, he would not have been able to challenge for his place but he has took confidence from the past few months and he has made progress. You can see this in his game.

“He trained with his team-mates today (Friday) and he is fit and available, should we wish.”

Saturday’s game sees Puel come up against his former club, who are currently third from bottom of the table.

Puel has seen improvement at Southampton since Ralph Hasenhuttl took over as manager and he expects Saints to pull clear of relegation trouble.

“Of course they will,” said Puel. “They have good ingredients and quality in the team. They have good organisation and mentality and had a good result against Chelsea. They had a good attitude in their last game also and they can continue that way.

“It will be a tough game as they are in form.”

Jamie Vardy is expected to be restored to the Leicester starting line up after he was rested for the FA Cup defeat at Newport. However, defender Jonny Evans is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering a broken toe.

“When something breaks, it is normal to have 40-45 days of recovery,” said Puel.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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