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Gareth Southgate is tipping his Aston Villa team-mate Gareth Barry to
enjoy a glittering England career, saying: "He has the talent to do whatever he wants
in the game".

Southgate wasn't surprised by 19-year-old Barry's ease on his full international debut
as a second-half substitute against Ukraine at Wembley on Wednesday. Southgate
said: "He showed against Ukraine that this stage is not too much for him."

"His transition to first-team football at Villa was seamless and it was the same on
Wednesday. He looked totally comfortable with things, nothing seems to faze him."
He added.

Now the ex-Brighton youth player is looking forward to a place in Euro 2000 after not even being in Kevin Keegan's
original squad of 28 before Jason Wilcox pulled out through injury 10 days ago.

It caps a meteoric rise to fame for Barry, who signed for Villa on the day that former manager Brian Little left in
February 1998. He made his debut at the end of the 1997-98 campaign as a 17-year-old and for the last two
seasons has been a virtual ever-present at Villa in addition to making his England bow at Under-21 level.

Southgate appreciates that a dearth of left-sided players has helped Barry get the nod for Euro 2000 but his
versatility and composure against the Ukranians has also been a key factor: "Gareth didn't put a foot wrong and it
would have been a brilliant experience for him. He is naturally left-footed but it is not only that which has earned
him his chance. Says the Villa captain.

"His performances all season have been outstanding so he is worthy of a place in the squad."You do now have a
crop of young players coming through like Steven Gerrard and Gareth Barry, and before them, Michael Owen and
Rio Ferdinand, who don't have any fear.

"They are still at the age where they don't see the pitfalls of the game. They just go out and play, and that's the
best way to be. Southgate continues.

"I am loath to go and put pressure on him. His performances have spoken for themselves and I am sure he can go
on and do whatever he wants to do in the game."

Barry admitted: "I wasn't even in the 28 and people thought I'd just come in to make up the numbers and would get
released when the final 22 was announced.

"Only a couple of weeks ago I was in the Under-21 squad and looking to do well with them before going way for a
couple of holidays with my girlfriend.

"But I set out when I joined up to try and impress the manager. There was a lot of talk about me not even getting
in the squad if I hadn't been left-footed, but I'm determined to make the most of those circumstances.

"Coming on against Ukraine has given me a taste for more of the same and hopefully there is a lot more to come
with England but I have to keep working hard and trying to improve."he concluded.


[This message has been edited by RazorUK (edited 02-06-2000).]
 
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