Gareth Barry is a footballer that often faces ridicule by fans of clubs other than Manchester City who don’t get to watch him every week, a common misconception is that he spends games passing backwards and not doing much running. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Gareth Barry is crucial to Manchester City and England hopes of achieving anything memorable over the next few years.
Having made 40 appearances this season for title chasing Manchester City, the 31 year old midfielder is clearly highly regarded by Roberto Mancini (only Joe Hart, David Silva and Sergio Aguero have made more appearances then him this season) but yet still he has many critics.
Barry’s importance to England was shown in South Africa in 2010 when he was rushed back into the team much too soon after recovery from an injury and this meant he was tremendously off the pace. Many people have humiliated Barry for the way Mesut Ozil breezed past him as we approached the end of the 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Germany. This was simply a man that had all the energy squeezed out of him after a gruelling and season of being heavily depended upon by Manchester City and should not have been made to play that game.
Since that World Cup, Barry has been an integral part of one of the best teams in the country and this season has regularly been picked ahead of Nigel de Jong as Manchester City look to attack teams to continue their development to a potential title winning side. De Jong is a brilliant anchor-man but spends too much time too close to his centre backs and when teams come to the Etihad and put 10 men behind the ball he lacks the ability to quickly transfer the ball from defence to attack. Barry is not only the brilliant tackler de Jong is, he ensures the ball reaches the inventive players like Silva and Aguero as quick as possible.
Whenever Barry plays, City appear to have much more possession which is key to winning games and keeping players fresh which is vital in the fitness obsessed Premier League. He also covers an incredible amount of ground so that players like Silva and Nasri have less defensive responsibility. Finally, Barry is an exemplary professional who doesn’t tend to make any front page headlines.
It is these few simple reasons that I believe Gareth Barry should remain one of the first names on the Manchester City team sheet and should be England’s captain this summer when they start a very difficult European championship campaign.
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