The Houston Dynamo forward has been called up to the Jamaica squad after all the necessary paperwork came through.
Giles Barnes was once tipped to become a future England star as a teenager but, while the former Derby County product’s hopes of ever turning out for the Three Lions are all but gone, an international career looks to be forthcoming.
Having revitalised his career in MLS with the Houston Dynamo, Barnes has been in discussions for several years about representing Jamaica, who he is eligible for through his grandparents, and finally filed his one-time switch to the CONCACAF nation last summer.
With the paperwork now completed, the former England Under-19 international has been called up for the first time for the coming friendlies with Venezuela and Cuba and looks set to line up alongside a handful of British-born Reggae Boyz, including Wes Morgan, Adrian Mariappa and Garath McCleary.
Overwhelmed by the amount of nice comments from you guys regarding my call up to @ItsTheJFF .. It means alot...— Giles Barnes (@GilesBarnesReal) March 22, 2015
Speaking about a future with the Jamaican setup last June, the 26-year-old attacker told MLSsoccer.com: “You always want to play international football; it’s a dream as a child. The first one was playing in the Premier League. I did, and so the next one’s playing internationally.
“Hopefully I can achieve that as well. You’ve got to get selected, but I think I’ve got a lot to offer. That’s just me. I’m not being big-headed, but I’ve played at the highest level, and I can play at a variety of positions.
“These are all people I know and grew up playing against, so to be able to go fit in that system is not going to be a problem,” he added. “A lot of my friends play for the Jamaican national side as well, so it’ll be a good experience for me.”
Having helped lead Derby to the Premier League in 2007 at just 17, Barnes was labelled “the next Theo Walcott” and linked to a host of major clubs, before a string of serious injuries put paid to those aspirations and even threw his career into doubt.
Limited to just 28 appearances with the Rams over the next few seasons, before his controversial release in December 2009, he would go on to have unspectacular stints at West Bromwich Albion and Doncaster Rovers, before finding himself without a club in the summer of 2012 and facing an uncertain future.
That was until he made the move to MLS, where, after a somewhat slow start with the Dynamo, the versatile Barnes has morphed into one of the league’s top forwards, amassing 21 goals over the past two campaigns.
As well as thriving in a more advanced role, the fan favourite has also overcome his past injury nightmares to set a club record for minutes played by an outfield player in a season, logging 3,028 while starting all 34 games in an MVP-calibre 2014.
Now managed by former Burnley and Bolton Wanderers boss Owen Coyle, Barnes looks set for another impressive season, after scoring the winner in the 2015 opener against the Columbus Crew, and that bodes extremely well for Jamaica, who will compete in both the Gold Cup and Copa America this summer.