Barry praises loan opportunity

Gareth Barry
Barry enjoyed a fine season on loan at Everton in 2013/14. Photo: PA

Everton midfielder Gareth Barry believes English players have nothing to fear in looking for a new challenge if they are struggling to find first-team football.

The 33-year-old signed a three-year-deal with the Toffees earlier this week having spent the final season of his City contract on loan at Goodison Park.

As an experienced player it was slightly easier for Barry to take that decision almost 12 months ago than it would be for an aspiring youngster harbouring hopes of making it at a big club.

He has not looked back since but acknowledges other, younger, players may look at their own situations differently.

"It was frustrating," he said of his diminishing chances of regular football at City.

"I had four great years at City and played regularly. I was (then) told I wouldn't play regularly and someone like myself I wanted to be playing regularly.

"For other English players they need to make that decision themselves: to sit around and play the odd game or come out and play regularly.

"For me it worked wonders last season but they need to make their own decision.

"Any player wants to stay at a club and get settled as it makes things so much easier in your day to day life but Manchester City is a squad full of amazing talent from all over the world and it is a tough place to do it."

Barry's impressive season at Everton increased speculation about an England recall for the World Cup which never materialised but the midfielder still believes he could have been of service to Roy Hodgson's side.

"Any English player would say the same if they weren't picked," he told local Liverpool radio stations.

"You have to back yourself and say if you were selected you could have had affected it and done a job."

Gareth Barry
Gareth Barry won the league with Manchester City. Credit: PA

The season Barry had under manager Roberto Martinez convinced him Everton was his long-term destination despite there being interest from elsewhere.

"Last season certainly helped me in terms of making my decision," he said.

"My mind never really went away from signing for Everton.

"I had a conversation with the manager at the end of the season and he told me he wanted me to sign.

"My agent did get a few calls from some other teams so then your mind can wander but nothing really took me away from being at Everton.

"I had a conversation with the chairman (Bill Kenwright) and manager after coming back from holiday and the contract was agreed.

"You could tell from my football last year I was playing with a lot of confidence.

"He (Martinez) is keen for players to learn and I thought I learned a lot from him last season - even with my experience.

"He was a big reason why I wanted to come back. The way the manager speaks to me I can play into my 40s!"

Barry is now looking forward to tackling the double challenge of Europa League football on top of a domestic campaign.

"We always want to improve but we have to be careful as it is a different season playing European football," he said.

"There are going to be a lot of games in the Europa League and a lot of the younger player have not experienced European football but we are positive.

"We will set our targets high. Our main challenge is the expectation.

"Last season we produced some fantastic football and got some great results and it is up to us to do that with European football as well.

"I am really excited to be playing on a Thursday night. It has been a few years since the club has experienced that."