DONCASTER Rovers’ latest signing Giles Barnes has taken little time to settle in at the Championship club.
“The training here is very similar to West Brom (where he was last season),” he said. “There is a lot of high tempo passing so it has been quite easy for me to slot in because that’s what I had been used to.”
Barnes, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Friday - August 5 - says he has quickly fallen in love with life at the South Yorkshire club.
“I like it here,” he said. “The atmosphere around the club and the football ethos is brilliant. I knew a couple of the players before I came, which obviously helps, but the rest of the lads were all so welcoming.”
Barnes made his debut for Rovers, after just one training session with the club, when coming on as a trialist in the final warm-up game against Grimsby at Blundell Park last Friday.
He played over 50 minutes, popping up all over the field during an impressive showing, prior to being replaced after picking up a slight shin injury,
“It wasn’t serious; I was due to come off anyway,” he said.
“I enjoyed it. The manager just said go out and play but just make sure that I filled in defensively.”
“I’m predominately a striker but that doesn’t always happen and as a footballer you just have to try and fit in with every team; you have to adapt.
“I’ve played central midfield and holding midfield, both wings and I even played centre-half and right back at West Brom.”
He added: “The lads here make it easy for you when you are on the ball because they are always moving and they always want the ball which makes it a lot easier to pick out a man.”
Prior to linking up with Rovers and signing what he hopes will turn out to be an initial six-month deal, Barnes had been on trial at Nottingham Forest.
Forest decided not to pursue their interest in the former Derby and Baggies’ star, but several other clubs, including Rovers, were showing an interest.
“There were one or two other clubs but once I’d spoken to the Doncaster manager and assistant manager that helped make, my mind up,” he said.
“They were both very keen for me to come here and they both have high ambitions for the club and they set high standards for the players and I think that’s brilliant,”
Having helped both the Rams and Baggies to promotion to the Premier League, Barnes says he knows what it takes to win promotion from the Championship and he doesn’t rule out Rovers being in the reckoning come the end of the season.
“Having played against Rovers in the past I can vouch for the fact that they are a very good footballing team. I played against them for West Brom in a pre-season friendly at the Keepmoat a couple of years ago and they passed us off the park; it was like chasing shadows. The manager wants us to pressure the opposition high up the field when we haven’t got the ball. I’ve not really played that way before; I’ve always dropped back and fallen into shape, so it’s a bit of a change for me.
“But I think it is brilliant tactic because you get to win the ball in high areas and closer to the opposition goal.”