Barry will set the record for all-time Premier League appearances if he figures for the Baggies at Arsenal on Monday but insists there is still plenty more to come
GARETH BARRY says he has no intention of calling time on his record-breaking career – and expects to be playing in the Premier League again for West Brom next season.
The 36-year-old midfielder is on the brink of setting a new Premier League appearance record against Arsenal at the Emirates on Monday when he makes his 633rd Premier League appearance.
But the former Aston Villa, Manchester City and Everton stalwart, who matched Ryan Giggs previous record of 632 Prem appearances against West Ham last Saturday, says he is still in love with the game and thoughts of retiring haven’t entered his head.
Barry who has the option of a further year’s extension to his current Albion deal said: “I still enjoy driving into training every day.
“It’s a fantastic lifestyle and I want to keep it going as long as possible.
“I have no idea how longer I will be able to remain a Premier League player because I never thought I would never get anywhere near this amount of starts.
“You achieve certain landmarks like 100 appearances and then you’ve hit 500 and think you’re coming near to the end of your career but I’m proud I’ve always been able to keep going.
“I’m still taking each season as it comes and I’ve listened to former players and my family who have told me there is plenty of time after football to do other things, so carry on as long as you can.
“There is no better feeling than running out with your teammates and trying to win a game of football – no finer than when the final whistle goes and you’ve won.”
Barry twice came close to signing for Arsenal but says he doesn’t expect to be given a hero’s welcome at the Emirates when he trots out for his 633rd Premier tussle.
“I’ve never really got a good reception from away fans so I’m not expecting one,” he said.
“The result is the main thing on Monday for me, any number of games I achieve is an individual thing but football is a team game.
“My family will all be there but anything other than a good result and there will be no smile on my face, crazy as it sounds.”
Barry made his senior debut in a 3-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday in May 1998 and admits the game has changed dramatically in the 19 years since.
“There’s been massive changes. In the early days you’d be rolling up half an hour before training, putting your kit on and going out to train,” he said.
“There was no yoga, no stretching, no sports science. It’s changed so much now, especially the speed of the game and the recovery processes.
“I’ve taken a lot of different things on board as time has gone on and I’ve not let myself get stuck in a rut – that’s helped me prolong my career.”