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By ESPN Staff

Sunderland play down Barnes scouting reports

Sunderland have played down reports that former England star John Barnes has been recruited as a part-time scout for the club in the Caribbean.

The ex-Liverpool star is involved in a competition for young footballers, for which one of the prizes is the chance to train with the Barclays Premier League club's Academy players.

Barnes told the Guardian: 'I'll be choosing the best players to go to Sunderland.

'They recognise that, although Africa is saturated [with English scouts from the leading clubs], the Caribbean is the next place they are going to get the talent to hopefully grace the Premier League.'

However, the Black Cats have insisted that Jamaica-born Barnes is not employed by them in any capacity.