Gareth Barry Can Become Everton's Main Man in Midfield

Matt Cheetham@@Matt_CheethamCorrespondent ISeptember 7, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 14:  Gareth Barry of Manchester City celebrates victory in the FA Cup with Budweiser Semi Final match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on April 14, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Everton left it until late to leave their mark on transfer deadline day, hitting jackpot with a late triple swoop for James McCarthy, Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry.

The explosive, raw potential of Lukaku has generated considerable hype among Evertonians, as has their new £13 million man, McCarthy.

Despite being the most established name of the three, Barry's arrival has received slightly less clamour, but don't be surprised if he's soon viewed as an integral part of his new club.

The England international often seems unappreciated among the average football fan, not helped by Mesut Ozil's infamous surge past him at World Cup 2010.

There, Barry's lack of pace was brutally exposed by Oezil, who left him for dead, but such lapses are a genuine rarity in his game. He may be short of pace, but his exceptional positional nous and anticipation see this seldom become an issue.

His impressive game management and vision are two key aspects that are vital to Roberto Martinez's approach, both of which have been lacking in Everton's midfield. He has the ability to help construct from the back, envisaging several moves ahead of the opposition with a far sharper, more precise pass. 

Stuart Brennan summed up his value in the Manchester Evening News, stating:

Barry has been arguably City’s most consistent performer in the last four seasons, the glue which binds it all together, providing cover for Kompany, and able support for Yaya and Silva.

That is considerable praise and sums him up perfectly, revealing why he often receives a lack of appreciation—not everyone notices his input. With an uncomplicated technique he does the simple things well, contributes to the passing game while rarely putting his team in danger.

He is wise enough to cover for more adventurous colleagues and will become the teammate instantly savoured by Kevin Mirallas, Steven Pienaar and Ross Barkley.

Darron Gibson has performed a similar role for Everton, but he is so often absent through injury or playing below full fitness that Martinez may prefer the continuity provided by Barry.

Last season, the Manchester City man averaged 10 passes more than Gibson at almost five percent better accuracy. His long balls and diagonals were also more reliable and he created more chances.

Leon Osman has played every game in central midfield so far this season but hasn't been able to raise his side's tempo. He's also been dribbled past on several occasions, including five times against Norwich. It may be that Osman's now asked to challenge Barkley for the more attacking slot.

For those doubting Barry's commitment, now that he's stepping down from the title race, this is the last year of his contract at City. He's effectively playing for his future and will be keen to impress and showcase his value.

While Gibson's particularly well regarded by Evertonians and James McCarthy arrives for such an extravagant fee, both players may soon find themselves in competition to partner Barry.


Statistics via WhoScored?