Brexit might be good for English footballers, but would be a disaster for the country, football legend John Barnes has said.
The Liverpool and England winger said that changes to immigration rules which follow Brexit might see foreign players forced to get “work permits”.
“That could give young British players a chance to get into the top teams, which further down the line could see them getting the experience that could help the national team,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
But asked if he thought Brexit would be good for the country, Mr Barnes, who was quoted as supporting leaving the EU by Michael Gove during the 2016 referendum campaign, hit back.
He said: “Is it good for the country? No I don’t think it so.
“And I wouldn’t back the Leave campaign at all because I think that we’ve gone past that situation of nationalism and that kind of rhetoric of every man for himself.
“You’ve got in America Donald Trump and ‘America First’, now it’s ‘Britain First’. So I’m not in favour of it whatsoever.
He added: “But from a footballing perspective, it could be good for the England team”
It is not the first time Mr Barnes has felt the need to correct Michael Gove.
In fact in 2016 the World in Motion rapper slapped down Mr Gove’s claim he wanted a leave vote in a live TV intervention from South Africa.
Liverpool FC legend said he was stunned to see the then Justice Secretary’s bold statement in a text from his son – and contacted news channels to arrange an interview.
Speaking from Johannesburg, where he was working during Euro 2016, he told Sky News: “I wanted to be left out of it, unfortunately I’ve been brought back in.”
He said he has a different view to most people on immigration – that the west helped to create the current immigration crisis, and cannot wash its hands of the responsibility.
“If everyone decided to go their own way, where would we all be?” he said.