As Gareth Barry prepares to become the Premier League’s appearances record holder, he has revealed that Everton boss Ronald Koeman was reluctant to allow the midfielder to depart for West Bromwich Albion this summer.
The 36-year-old holding midfielder departed for the Midlands towards the end of the summer transfer window in a bid to keep playing regular Premier League football.
With Everton being overstocked with players in Barry’s position, he became the odd man out and was allowed to leave for a nominal fee.
Although Koeman wasn’t entirely happy with him leaving. Barry told the media: “He (Koeman) wasn’t happy with me” and that “he wanted me to stay around.” The midfielder also added that Koeman “felt I was going to get enough game time, which I possibly might have done with European football and the cups.”
But for Barry, “running out on a Saturday afternoon in the Premier League” is what he’s always enjoyed doing and he didn’t feel like he would be able to get close enough to that by staying at Goodison Park.
Barry could have played a part
Despite Everton’s stockade of central midfielders, the former England international could and would have likely played an expanded role for the Blues during this campaign.
Barry appeared in 33 Premier League games during each of his three seasons with the Toffees and whilst his role would have likely been limited to only bench appearances in the Premier League, his experience and calming influence would have been invaluable to Everton’s youthful squad, as they compete on a number of different fronts this season.
Now, the 36-year-old can lend his knowledge and game management skills to Tony Pulis’s squad as they look to continue bridging the gap between themselves and the Premier League’s top six.
Premier League history
The former Everton man gets his chance to make history on Monday night, should he appear for the Baggies on Monday night, as they travel to face Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium.
Barry’s appearance will be his 633rd in the top flight, passing the current record held by Ryan Giggs.