England have defied expectations this summer, easily seeing off Sweden in Saturday's World Cup quarter-final.
Despite excelling at Manchester City this season, scoring 23 goals in all competitions, the 23-year-old has come in for criticism for his displays in Russian Federation.
"We as a country are united behind the team".
"He was a constant threat to Sweden".
Barnes, who started his career at Watford before moving to Liverpool and also later had a spell with Newcastle, feels the current England players will leave Russian Federation better prepared for the challenges ahead. He can come short and link the play.
"They showed from the games I've seen so far that they play direct football and they are very fast".
'Raz, he's a nightmare for us defenders, ' said the defender.
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Southgate has engendered a more open, relaxed environment at national team level, with the players carrying less emotional baggage and playing with more freedom.
To reach the semi finals of a world cup. WOW!
"As I have got older I have become more conscious of that - it is easy to avoid challenges and avoid putting yourself on the line", he said.
"They dealt with Sweden relatively easily so we know they are going to be a hard opponent and we respect them", he said.
"None of us are satisfied and none of us are particularly hyped up".
Sterling is yet to net a goal in the World Cup despite being in the team in four matches out of five and has also been missing goal-scoring opportunities in the tournament on a regular basis.
"It was an extremely disappointing moment and we knew that we couldn't let that happen again".
With the nation back home having worked itself into a World Cup frenzy, Southgate admits he has thoroughly enjoyed his two years in charge. "If you come into a job like this and look at the possible down sides for sure you don't take it".