Midfielder settles very quickly at Goodison
Gareth Barry insists he has settled at Everton FC quicker than any club during his career.
The experienced midfielder, who has become an instant hit in royal blue, has played for three clubs before arriving at Goodison for a loan season on the final day of the transfer window.
And although he has enjoyed previous spells of longevity at Brighton, Aston Villa and Manchester City, the 32-year-old maintains he has felt at home on Merseyside so quickly it surprised him.
Barry, who has amassed 621 appearances so far during his 18-year career, said: “People who I’ve spoken to who have played for Everton say this is a good family club and you’ll enjoy going there, but until you do go in you don’t know what to expect.
“But I do get that feeling. Of the two transfers I’ve had in my career I’ve settled here a lot quicker and that’s credit to the people around the training ground and around Goodison.”
Barry has rapidly become an influential cog in Roberto Martinez’s midfield, but admits the recent international break represented a frustrating interruption in his attempts to get back to full match fitness after too long on the sidelines at parent club Manchester City.
“It’s been a stop-start season and that’s frustrating,” he said. “You want that run of 10 games to really get in a rhythm and get your fitness to 100% and be playing at your peak.
“So hopefully there’s better to come from me. But there’s another international break coming and hopefully we’ll reap the benefits over Christmas when we’ve still got fresh legs while others have been playing international football.”
Barry was also forced to watch from afar when his current club travelled to the Etihad Stadium to face City earlier this month, a game he was prevented from playing in by Premier League rules. But he still found time to cheer on his current team-mates.
“I was given a few days off so I was abroad but I found a TV and took the game in and cheered the lads on,” he said.
“We made a great start to the game and it was just disappointing to concede so quickly after their goal. You want to keep that lead for a bit and quieten their fans.
“But there were still positives to take from the game.”
Martinez has been thrilled with the England international’s contribution so far, and was quick to highlight his effective performance alongside James McCarthy against Hull on Saturday.
He added: “They’re pristine professionals.
“We just hope we’re fortunate with injuries now. We’ve lost Darron Gibson for the long term and that’s something we can’t control.
“But it’s good to see a new player at the club playing like they’ve been here for years. James is learning from Gareth and Leon (Osman), and in turn they’re enjoying their football.
“Gareth made over 95 passes on Saturday and got over 96% pass completion. He’s a master. James is enjoying learning next to him.”