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Barnes: England defeat a wake-up call

England’s defeat against Czech Republic is a wake-up call for the team, says former winger John Barnes.

England slumped to their first qualifying loss in a decade after a late winner from debutant Zdenek Ondrasek secured a deserving win for the Czechs in Prague.

But Barnes is not alarmed by the defeat and hopes it can serve as a useful learning curve for Gareth Southgate’s young side.

“England have had a fantastic run of being unbeaten,” Barnes told Sky Sports News at a Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust event.

“They’ve shown great quality, resilience – even in the face of adversity when they have been down. It’s happened at a good time because I think we have to recognise they are still young, they’re still growing.

“And as much as they have been fantastic in the last two years, they are still young and inexperienced. I still support them and I suppose because they have done so well it’s a bit of a wake-up call.

“I’m not saying they were a bit cocky, but subconsciously maybe they felt that yes we are going to win the World Cup – people are telling us that.

“It was a bit of a wake-up call. We still need to have the humility, we still have to have that work ethic and that knowledge of how we are going to achieve and what we are going to achieve.

“And I think this has probably come at a good time because it is not going to impact on us not qualifying [for the Euros] but maybe it is a bit of a wake-up call that we are not quite there yet, which is not a bad thing.”

Barnes was speaking as his former England U21 team-mate Cyrille Regis was inducted into the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame. Regis passed away suddenly last year aged 59.

Barnes presented Regis’ widow Julia, and his brother Dave with the Hall of Fame award during a Strike a Change event hosted by the Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust at Villa Park.

“He’s [now] in the National Football Museum Hall of Fame and I am shocked that he is not there already,” Barnes said.

“I thought he would already have been there, because, of course, being one of the first black British pioneers of English football if you like and one of the first black players to play for England, achieving what he did at a particularly difficult time. He’s a worthy inclusion, absolutely.

“What made him the footballer he was, was his power, his pace, his strength, his skill.

“What made him the man he was, was his humility, his respect, his resilience and his feeling of a sense of responsibility to his community, which is what the Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust is about.

“It’s not about an elite organisation talking about black managers and other black elite groups. It’s about the inner cities and helping kids in inner cities maximise their potential

“So in many respects as much as he was a fantastic footballer. I would pay tribute to him more as a man than a footballer.”

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