Gareth Barry poised to make Premier League appearance history
By Mark Crellin
Last Updated: 21/09/17 12:43pm
Gareth Barry says it will be a proud moment for him to set the Premier League appearance record when West Brom play Arsenal on Monday, live on Sky Sports Premier League.
Barry is preparing to make his 633rd Premier League appearance and has enjoyed a fine career to date, winning 53 England caps and representing Aston Villa, Manchester City and Everton.
The 36-year-old will move past Ryan Giggs as the all-time Premier League appearance holder if he plays against the Gunners.
Speaking to the media on Thursday morning, Barry said: "When I think back to my debut, playing that first game, to hitting this number I am about to reach now, everything has gone so quick in between.
"It is certainly something, when I do end up finishing, I will sit back and be really proud of, and try to take in what has happened in between a bit more."
Asked if he ever thought he would play in so many games, Barry said: "No. You make your debut as a young kid, you are just focused on different things, you are never setting yourself a target like this
"You hit certain landmarks along the way, your 100th and so on but, even when I played 500, I am thinking, 'you are coming towards the end of your career'.
"You are not expecting to play that many more games after that, so I am really proud to have been able to keep going.
"I think it has helped me that I have approached it like that, not set myself any targets, taken a season at a time, tried to keep myself in the best shape and focus on the job
"I try to enjoy it and it is a fantastic life I have been living so, (hopefully) keep it going!
"There is no better feeling than running out there with your team-mates and trying to win a game of football.
"Any ex-player will tell you that, when that final whistle goes and you've won a game of football together, as a team, as you've been working all week, it's a great feeling."
Speaking on Thursday, Arsene Wenger was full of praise for Barry and admitted he was interested in signing the midfielder in the past.
"I believe it's an outstanding achievement," said Wenger.
"Gareth is intelligent, determined, strong in challenge, good technical quality, I personally always rated him highly.
"We were interested in him when he moved from Villa to City but at the time City was the big investor and their finances were superior."