Franko Foda, the manager of the Austrian national team, has today opened up on the possibility of a call-up for Burnley striker Ashley Barnes.
Barnes, 28, has been on the books of Burnley since 2014, following a move from Brighton & Hove Albion.
The powerful hitman has since been in and out of the starting lineup of the Clarets, but has nevertheless played a crucial role in the club establishing themselves as a solid Premier League outfit over the last two seasons.
To this point in the current campaign, Barnes has racked up 6 goals in 29 league appearances (14 starts) for Burnley, but has hit a rich vein of form of late, notching in his last 3 outings for Sean Dyche’s men.
Reports over recent weeks had claimed that Barnes’ upturn in form could result in a call-up to the Austrian international setup, for whom he is eligible through his grandmother, for the country’s upcoming friendly meetings with Slovenia and Luxembourg.
Barnes played once for Austria’s U20s in 2008, but, as per updates over the last couple of days, this appearance came courtesy of a permit granted by FIFA, with the Burnley striker’s lack of an Austrian passport meaning that he cannot be called up to the country’s senior setup for the time being.
On the horizon?
However, this has not discouraged Austrian boss Franko Foda, who, speaking in an interview with Sky Austria earlier today, revealed that he maintains hope of Barnes lining out for the country in the future, after being impressed by the attacker’s exploits versus West Ham at the weekend:
‘I went to see him against West Ham at the weekend for the first time. He did a really good job by scoring a goal.’
‘Me and my staff were impressed. He can use either foot, is physically very present and makes a lot of good runs. He was also involved in every single offensive play. What can I say, he is a very good striker.’
‘It was very important for me to see him live in the flesh to judge his competitive quality. Now, there are many other details to be discussed. Is he eligible to play for Austria? When can I involve him in my plans? We will see, what the next weeks may bring.’
‘I talked to people about Barnes. There are several Austrian players in the Premier League. The feedback was very positive.’