What Happened To England's 'Next Big Star' Giles Barnes
If you played Football Manager ten years ago then you'll probably recognise the name Giles Barnes.
Back in the late 00's the youngster was touted to become the next Paul Gascoigne, but his career didn't exactly live up to expectation after countless injuries and a lack of first team football.
Barnes became somewhat of a household name during his Derby County days after making his debut just three weeks after signing his first professional contract at the age of 17.
He continued to impress under Phil Brown and Premier League clubs began to circulate. Derby reportedly considered whether to cash in on a midfielder who was being tracked by Everton, Manchester United and Newcastle, according to The Independent.
Even Italian giants Juventus were interested in his services.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Barnes revealed which clubs were interested in him during his time at Derby:
"West Ham launched a bid of £7 million, Newcastle made an offer. I remember loads of scouts watching me - there was one game against Preston, I think, and someone told me that a scout from Juventus was there," Barnes said.
"I was aware that people were watching but I was just trying to enjoy it. I loved it at Derby and I never tried to play well to leave because I loved the club."
Barnes, however, signed a new four-year extension on his current deal and helped Derby to Premier League promotion at the age of 18.
It was hardly a surprise that top teams were stalking his signature. The talented youngster picked up the club's Young Player of the Year award in 2007 - not to mention a number of other accolades during the year and his reputation skyrocketed.
Unfortunately for Barnes, he spent long spells on the sideline as Derby struggled in the Premier League, and despite two goals against Manchester United in the 2009 League Cup, he eventually joined West Brom in 2010 after a brief loan spell at Fulham the previous year.
He struggled again for games at West Brom and was released after playing just 23 games for the club. Barnes soon signed for Doncaster in 2011 and his career began to get back on track, with Everton, Swansea and West Ham chasing his signature in the summer of 2012.
In a surprise move, the 'future England star' would sign for Houston Dynamo and make 131 appearances for the American side. He was even apportioned club captain for the club in 2016 after a hugely successful time with the Major League Soccer side.
Barnes would then swap Houston for Vancouver and Orlando City, where he didn't enjoy as much success.
In the January transfer window, the 29-year-old would leave the MLS after six seasons and join Liga MX side Club Leon - the eighth club of his career.
What a journey.