Amongst all the exotic names of strikers linked with Manchester City over the past few months, one of Mark Hughes’ most astute pieces of transfer business might actually turn out to be Gareth Barry – a player some fans still mistakenly think of as a ‘journeyman’ footballer.
In fact, Gareth Barry could well fall into that category of players that supporters don’t fully appreciate until he suddenly isn’t playing; someone who simply gets on with the important business in midfield and chips in with the occasional goal or two.
He’s certainly come a long way since his controversial move as a young trainee from Brighton and Hove Albion to Aston Villa in 1997. At that stage of his career, Gareth Barry was considered primarily to be a centre back, initially playing for Villa in a back three with Gareth Southgate and Ugo Ehiogu. His form was so consistent that, in 2000, he earned a call-up to the England squad and, for a while, the conjecture was that he would become the regular left back or left sided central defender. After 2003, though, he fell out of the squad altogether for four years.
During this time, Gareth, surprisingly to some, moved into midfield. However, his touch on the ball and mobility soon began to show, in addition to his excellent reading of the game, and he quickly developed into the role – becoming so much more than simply a defensive ‘minder’ for more creative midfielders. His success in the central midfield position brought him back into the England squad and also attracted the attention of Liverpool, who were very keen to sign him in the summer of 2008.
Gareth first played central midfield for England in September, 2007 against Israel and, by having two assists to his name in that match, he soon established himself as a regular in the team, combining well with both Steve Gerrard and Frank Lampard. At the time of writing, he has won 34 ทางเข้า ufabet เว็บแทงบอล international caps in total, scoring twice in the process.
Despite playing in 441 games for Aston Villa and scoring 52 goals, Barry’s departure from the club wasn’t without problems. After nearly leaving for Liverpool the previous year, some of the fans had remained critical of the player’s attitude during the season and, when he left for Manchester City this summer, the accusation of going only to enhance his bank balance was a common one. Gareth Barry himself, though, always maintained that the move was for footballing reasons and for the challenge of becoming a part of the ‘new era’ at the Eastlands Stadium.
Certainly it’s clear to see why Mark Hughes would want to sign Gareth Barry. Here is a player still only 28 years old but with enormous experience who is going to help gel the team together and set a fine example, both on and off the pitch. He is the kind of player you want on your team for an away fixture on a wet and windy Tuesday evening in October as well as in those tight Champions’ League games they hope to be playing in soon.