Veteran midfielder will make 632nd appearance in the top flight
GARETH BARRY will equal the Premier League appearance record after being named in West Brom starting XI to play West Ham.
The 36-year-old midfielder will make his 632nd appearance in the top flight this afternoon.
The former England man now draws level with Prem legend Ryan Giggs.
Barry made his debut as a 17-year-old for Aston Villa way back in 1998 – his first game came as a late substitute in a 3-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday on May 2.
Eight days later, May 10, 1998, Barry made his first Premier League start, a 1-0 win over champions Arsenal.
Barry was a defender back then, but has since developed into one of the Premier League’s most consistent midfielders.
He played more than 365 league games in 12 seasons at Villa, although he failed to win any major honours.
A big move to Manchester City came in 2009, with Barry at the vanguard of City’s most successful period.
MOST PREMIER LEAGUE APPEARANCES
=1. Ryan Giggs (Manchester United) – 632
=1. Gareth Barry (Aston Villa, Man City, Everton, West Brom) – 632
2. Frank Lampard (West Ham, Chelsea, Man City) – 609
3. David James (Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham, Man City, Portsmouth) – 572
4. Gary Speed (Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton) – 535
5. Emile Heskey (Leicester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Wigan, Aston Villa) – 516
6. Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough, Fulham, Chelsea, Leicester) – 514
7. Jamie Carragher (Liverpool) – 508
8. Phil Neville (Man Utd, Everton) – 505
=9. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) – 504
=9. Rio Ferdinand (West Ham, Leeds, Man Utd, QPR) – 504
10. Sol Campbell (Tottenham, Arsenal, Portsmouth, Newcastle) – 503
He helped the club to an FA Cup in 2011, the club’s first trophy since 1976, and a first title in 44 years the following season.
Barry was excellent for City, but aged 32 he moved to Everton.
He spent his first season on loan at Goodison Park, helping the club to fifth place under Roberto Martinez.
A permanent move followed, but Martinez and Barry couldn’t replicate that magic and the club slipped to two 11th placed finishes.
Under Ronald Koeman Barry remained a regular, playing 33 Prem matches this season.
Koeman decided to move on, but Tony Pulis saw a place for Barry in his midfield.
The former England man, who won 53 caps for the Three Lions between 2000 and 2012, has again been a regular for the Baggies.
He’s played in five of their six matches so far.
Giggs, who won a record 13 Premier League titles, reckons Barry could surpass 700 matches.
The Welshman said: “It’s a credit to him.
“Obviously a lot of things have got to go for you. You’ve got to get picked, and you’ve got to be fit because it’s a lot of games.
“I don’t know him well but you can see from the outside that he is a good pro, he looks a good player to have within the team and within the squad.
“And he’s not that old, he could go on for another two or three years and maybe get to 700.
“He’ll break my record and credit to him, records are there to be broken.
“I remember coming up against him as a 17-year-old at Villa, he was a left-back then, and he has come on from that talented young player to become a regular Premier League player.”