As much as Roberto Martinez would love to keep Gareth Barry at Everton, he is happy to wait until the summer to discuss his future.
The England international was surprisingly deemed surplus to requirements by Manchester City in the summer, as he entered the final 12 months of his contract. Barry helped the Etihad Stadium club win the FA Cup in 2011 and the Premier League title in 2012, but new coach Manuel Pellegrini spent heavily on Fernandinho ahead of the current season, and to be fair, the former Shakhtar Donetsk man has been impressive.
All this has helped the Toffees, who are once more in the mix for a UEFA Champions League place. Barry has started 20 of their 25 league matches so far this season, and his performances have led to speculation of rival interest in his signature. However, as agreed when the loan deal was rubberstamped during the summer, Martinez is happy to sit down with the 32-year-old at the end of the season to discuss his future.
“Speculation with other clubs doesn’t change anything. I trust him implicitly,” he said. “He has incredible human values. He’s a person who needs to make footballing decisions. He’s enjoyed an incredible career and is in a position that he can choose where his football happiness is going to be. From the beginning Gareth was a massive target of ours; he was available in the summer for other clubs and he decided to come to Everton.
“We did everything to bring him to the club. Our agreement was in the summer we would sit down and it would be a question of what is best for Gareth. It’s a joy to have him at the club and his only focus now is to play as well as he can in every single game. Nothing else matters. When you get interest from other parties and clubs looking at our players it is a good sign because the players are doing well, it is a compliment.”
Despite turning 33 at the end of this month, there is no reason why Barry, due to his general fitness levels and style of play, shouldn’t continue playing at the top level for at least another couple of years. Indeed, so impressive has he been this season, there are even rumblings that he could yet force his way into Roy Hodgson’s plans this summer.
The former Aston Villa man, who began his career at Brighton & Hove Albion, won the last of his 53 caps for England under Fabio Capello during a friendly match against Norway in May 2013. And whilst it is something of a long-shot for him to be called up for the World Cup Finals in Brazil, it would come as no surprise to the Goodison Park faithful.