No need to change his game says boss despite controversy after Hull game
Gareth Barry should not fear being on thin ice with referees despite the controversy over his tackles against Hull City, says his manager Roberto Martinez.
The on-loan midfielder’s first half tackle on Sone Aluko was labelled a “horror” challenge by Tigers boss Steve Bruce last Saturday, and the 32-year-old also inadvertently hurt Danny Graham in a separate incident.
But Martinez insists Barry, 32, is a fair player who was simply a victim of the wet conditions at Goodison, and should not receive any extra attention from official Anthony Taylor when he faces his former club Aston Villa tomorrow.
He said: “I’ve no worry for the future – Gareth will be fine to carry on what he’s been doing. He’s got incredible experience and he knows how to play the game.
“He was very unfortunate at the weekend. I don’t think his challenge on Danny Graham was even a free-kick. He wins the ball and was unfortunate that his studs got Danny’s knee – it wasn’t malicious at all.
“The other one was an incident where he would have won the ball on a dry pitch. On a wet pitch the foot went over the ball and unfortunately caught the player. But football is a contact sport and it was just a shame in that moment he caught Aluko.
“There was a similar challenge on Phil Jagielka and I think the referee was consistent enough to understand the conditions of the pitch. It was a game when players going for normal tackles risked hitting their opponents.”
England midfielder Barry has become a key figure for the Toffees since joining from Manchester City in the summer.
But asked whether he has already started to consider making the Manchester City man's move permanent, Martinez insisted he wants him to focus on keeping up his impressive performances on the pitch.
“It is not the right time,” said the Catalan. “I wouldn't put that in his mindset at the moment. All I want him to focus on is to keep enjoying his football and push for a start at the weekend and develop that competition behind the scenes – that is the only thing that matters at the moment.
“From the first day that he arrived he has been an incredible influence with the youngsters and an influence on the standards we have in training.
“Just with that alone you realise what a figure we have at the club. He is someone who breathes the game and brings the experience he has had from his career. He is playing with the desire and enthusiasm of an 18-year-old and has been a great player for us and I just want him to keep enjoying his football at Everton for as long as we can.”