Gareth Barry on brink of top-flight landmark at Everton
Monday 30 September 2013
The Everton manager, Roberto Martinez, has paid tribute to Gareth Barry as the midfielder prepares to play his 500th Premier League game.
Should Barry feature against Newcastle United on Monday night, as expected, he will become just the 10th player since the Premier League’s inception in 1992 to reach the landmark, putting him in the esteemed company of such players as Ryan Giggs, Frank Lampard and former Everton utility man Phil Neville.
The 32-year-old Barry started out as a central defender at Aston Villa before establishing himself as a central midfielder and earning a £12m switch to Manchester City, where he was part of their title-winning squad in 2012. His loan departure came as a shock to some in the City camp, according to Everton full-back Leighton Baines, and Martinez sees no indication of Barry’s talent waning.
“I don’t think there are many more significant records than that,” the Everton manager said of Barry’s potential landmark. “I think it represents his professionalism, the way he looks after himself, the way he sees the game and the experience that he brings into any side.
“And you can add the 50 appearances he’s had for England, so far. He’s in such a great moment in his career.”
Alan Pardew, the Newcastle manager, believes Everton are in a strong position this season, despite the exit of their former manager David Moyes and key midfielder Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United during the summer.
Martinez is busily stamping his own mark on the players he inherited from Moyes, having added summer signings Barry, James McCarthy and Romelu Lukaku to the mix, and the early signs have been promising.
Asked if Martinez had big shoes to fill, Pardew said: “Yes, but they have signed some good players and you would have to say that they have got what looks like a stronger squad than David had last year.
“Certainly the chairman there has done his bit, and they could be the surprise package of the season.
“Their retention of the ball will probably be greater under Roberto.What we have shown is that we have got a real offensive look about us, but we have got to make sure we are tight enough to cope with that.
“We weren’t against Hull [who won 3-2 at St James’ Park], but in the last three or four games, other than that game, we have been and that’s important.”
Probable Goodison Park teams
HOWARD, JAGIELKA, COLEMAN, DISTIN, BAINES, GIBSON, NAISMITH, BARRY, BARKLEY, MIRALLAS, LUKAKU
KRUL, SANTON, COLOCCINI, YANGA-MBIWA, DEBUCHY, GOUFFRAN, CABAYE, SISSOKO, BEN ARFA, CISSE, REMY
Kick-off 8pm (Sky Sports 1; highlights 1.30am)
Referee P Dowd (Staffordshire).
Latest in Sport
Chelsea injury news: Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic could join Diego Costa on the sidelines for crucial Manchester City clash
Australian Open 2015: Thanks to Amelie Mauresmo, it's no longer Andy Murray against the world
Fantasy Premier League: Invest in Arsenal to climb the ranks in Gameweek 23
Manchester United sign former Manchester City prospect Sadiq El Fitouri on advice from Phil Neville and Paul Scholes
Chelsea vs Manchester City: Manuel Pellegrini pours scorn on anti-Chelsea 'campaign' but refuses to discuss Jose Mourinho's 'Pellegrino' slight
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account