Barnsley striker Carlton Morris confident Reds can march on

Carlton Morris positively bristles with indignation at those who have the temerity to write off Barnsley’s prospects in 2021-22 and are tipping them for a season of struggle.

Carlton Morris: Big impact. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Given that he was part of a Reds side who won 13 out of 22 games in the regular Championship season following his arrival from Norwich City in January, he is entitled to feel he has a point.

Granted, two talismanic forces from last season in the shape of head coach Valerien Ismael and captain Alex Mowatt have departed – alongside two other key figures in Daryl Dike and Michael Sollbauer – but Morris sees no why reason why Barnsley, with the addition of one or two shrewd signings, cannot go again.

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More especially with the likely presence of home supporters back at Oakwell once more.

Barnsley manager Markus Schopp. Picture: Barnsley FC.

On those who question Barnsley’s credentials and ability to build on an outstanding 2020-21 campaign, which saw them confirm play-off participation and secure their highest finish since 1999-2000, Morris told The Yorkshire Post: “The biggest question back to that is why not?

“There is no limit to what we are capable of. We have got a good manager and coaching team around us and I have faith in the boys to go and crack on.

“You don’t know what can happen. Listening to the gaffer and the way he will implement things this season, I am sure there will be tweaks here and there and we will implement them as players and give our all every week.

“I can only see us being better at home with the fans behind us at Oakwell as well.

“I understand it is a cliché to say it is the ‘12th man’, but it does feel like that sometimes. It gives you an extra five or 10 per cent knowing that the fans are back and gives you a lift. That is going to be huge for us.”

A team who were greater than the sum of their parts last season, despite notable individual contributors from the likes of Mowatt and central defensive duo Michal Helik and Mads Andersen as well as Dike, Barnsley’s collective traits, resolve and spirit were endearing characteristics in a season which no-one connected with the club will forget in a hurry.

Further testament to that was further exemplified by the fact that they won 15 matches by a single-goal margin, including four matches in December when they came from behind to triumph.

Amid a summer when England’s unified team have shown how far those qualities of togetherness can take a team and squad, Morris believes that he and his team-mates can derive further inspiration on that count.

“You have got to take inspiration from other areas of life, including in your own profession,” he observed.

“You look at the England team with the togetherness and camaraderie in their training camp and it is not too dissimilar from what we did last season and we had that sort of changing room here.

“It is good socially as well here and we feel comfortable. When I joined, I felt comfortable within a week and I have never had that so quickly and it all plays into the success you have on the pitch.”

Morris may have only been at Barnsley for a relatively short space of time, but he has made his impact quickly felt and not just on the pitch.

The 25-year-old’s directness and physicality were leaned upon heavily in the run-in by ex-Reds chief Ismael, with Morris’s seven-goal contribution also handy at a timely juncture of proceedings.

With Morris firing, Barnsley looked that bit more convincing, with perhaps the biggest tribute to him being the fact that he gave the air of someone who had been established in the Reds’ squad for a number of seasons and not just a few months.

Away from the pitch, Morris has also marked himself out to be a voice in the dressing room and with some senior figures having departed, expect him to play a bigger role.

It is something the striker is comfortable with and more than ready to take on.

He said: “For sure. I know I look young, but I feel really old!

“I feel like I have been around a while, to be fair, and any time I can share things with young players in terms of the situation I have been in before and give my views without overstepping the boundary and share some work advice, I will always try to.”