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Gareth Barry deserves so much credit for breaking a long standing Premier League record

Wednesday 27th September 2017
Within Arsenal's win over West Brom on Monday was a major subplot to the game; Gareth Barry broke the all-time Premier League appearance record, surpassing Ryan Giggs. Make no mistake about it, it was a massive personal achievement and one that should not be underestimated.

In 1998, Ryan Giggs began what would prove to be the most successful season of both his career and Manchester United's history, obtaining a famous treble of trophies. Giggs would, of course, go on to become the all-time top appearance maker in the Premier League.

Little did he know that slightly further south at Aston Villa, a young man made his debut in the same year and would go on to surpass his record which seemed at one point untouchable. Gareth Barry may not have played all his games for one club like Giggs did, but he has still been a consistent figure for each of his clubs during his 19-year career, and now boasts the title of most appearances in Premier League history, which is no mean feat at all.

Barry began his career with Aston Villa and remained at Villa Park for the best part of 11 years in which he became captain. He racked up 365 league appearances with the club, and his consistency week-in-week-out in central-midfield led to heavy speculation of one of the bigger teams wanting to acquire his services.
In the summer of 2008, Liverpool were seen as potential suitors for the England international and seemingly sought his signature. After quite a lengthy summer saga, however, Barry remained in the Midlands, but only for one more season. In the following summer, Barry did finally severe ties with Villa, but not for the red of Liverpool, instead choosing to don the sky-blue of Manchester City. This would prove to be the most successful period in his career.

After four seasons of service in Manchester, Barry then moved to Everton where he continued to be the steady, ever faithful, midfield presence and in turn served four seasons once again at this his third club.

He then moved to his current club, West Brom, who he has in turn broken the appearance record with. While it may surprise many that Barry was so close to Breaking Giggs' record, when taking the facts into account, it isn't surprisng at all.

During his near 20 year career there has only been one season in which he has failed to make at least 30 league appearances. An incredible stat which just reflects his longevity and virtually injury-free career. The fact that he has broken the record of a player known so well for his consistency over such a long period of time deserves great applause, not to mention the fact that he is 4 years younger than Giggs was when he made the last of his appearances at 40.

At 36-years-old, he has registed an outstanding achievement. He has won the league title in his career which would be close to his heart, but on a personal level this one is special. He remains humble about his successes, the nature of the player himself shining through, but he will surely know deep down just how incredible it is. He could well continue to play for several more years now and set the benchmark even higher, the way he goes about the game the chances are he will do just that.

He could well continue to play for several more years now and set the benchmark even higher, the way he goes about the game, the chances are he will do just that.
Ryan Stewart

23 years old, Sport Journalism graduate living in Salford. Work in web content in Media city and always looking to break in to sports writing. Manchester United season ticket holder.

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