The 21-year-old striker always put the team first with unselfish work off the ball and link play that would often take him out of the penalty area.
That changed last season under the guidance of his coach Clive Allen, who explained: “Lee would do a lot of work for the team and be in position where he’d help the team but not necessarily help himself in terms of scoring goals.”
Who better than Clive — who memorably scored 49 goals for us in the 1986-87 campaign — to bring Lee’s goalscoring ability to the fore.
Lee’s 17 goals included successive hat-tricks and left him second top scorer in the Barclays Reserve League South.
However, Lee confessed: “At first I wasn’t keen on it because it didn’t feel right for me to almost be lazier, to stay right up and maybe not work as hard off the ball.
“Clive just told me to keep getting into the box and I’d get more chances, that happened and I managed to put them away.
“I’ve worked on my game as well. I did extra shooting with Clive whenever we could, after training we’d grab a keeper, do five or 10 minutes and work on different aspects of the game.”
The goals have certainly led to more confident player and even person.
“I was quite shy but I’ve come out of my shell and perhaps that’s down to the goals I’ve scored,” added Barney. “I feel more confident.
“Maybe before I wasn’t as confident and unselfish but now I’ve got perhaps that little more arrogance about my game.
“It’s all about goals really, I look at the work I do outside the goals but I’m only really judged on goals and last season I put the chances away.”
Lee Barnard admitted it took a while to develop the selfish streak that ultimately helped him to 17 goals in 17 games for the reserves last season.