Roberto Martinez hails Gareth Barry as one of England’s best after Everton edge Man City
Everton manager describes Barry as one of England’s finest ever players
Everton manager Roberto Martinez described Gareth Barry as one of England’s finest ever players after he helped guide his team closer to the final of the League Cup.
Barry, 34, produced another impressive midfield performance as he orchestrated a 2-1 win over former club Manchester City in the first leg of their semi-final at Goodison Park.
“Gareth Barry is one of those players that gets underrated. For me the big reason why we have so many effective young players is there are leaders in the mould of Gareth Barry,” said Martinez.
“I have never seen a player with such incredible professionalism, standards and so level-headed as Gareth Barry. For me he is one of the best English players ever.
“He could end up with 600 Premier League appearances this season. The way he behaves and the way he plays you can build a team around him.
“It’s no coincidence that we have so many players being successful at our football club through the presence of someone like that.”
Barry, who has played 576 Premier League games and been capped 53 times by England, joined Everton from City in 2014 following a successful season-long loan.
It was his cross which gave Romelu Lukaku the chance to head Everton’s late winner after Jesus Navas had cancelled out Everton’s opening goal from Ramiro Funes Mori in Wednesday’s clash.
Martinez claimed it had been a landmark win for his side against the 2014 competition winners and Premier League title challengers as Everton look to set up a possible final date against Liverpool, who hold a 1-0 lead over Stoke in the other semi-final, and end a 21-year wait for a trophy.
“It is more than happiness. I am very, very proud of the performance,” said the Everton boss.
“We faced Manchester City in August and were missing something. Internally it shows how far we’ve come and the real intent of this team to be successful.
“It shows what we have got in the dressing room. We are not getting carried away. We know we have a huge challenge in front of us and are looking forward to the second leg but today's performance means more than just a win in the semi-final of the League Cup.”
City manager Manuel Pellegrini claimed Everton’s opening goal should have been disallowed for offside against Lukaku, who stood in front of goalkeeper Willy Caballero as his save fell for Funes Mori to score.
He also felt Navas should have been awarded a penalty following a challenge by Everton substitute Kevin Mirallas but believes his side can can turn the tie round to reach the final.
“I'm disappointed at the result, of course, because you cannot be happy if you don't win the game but I think we didn't deserve to lose,” said the City manager.
“They were two very important plays. The first goal is offside. Lukaku is one yard in front of Willy Caballero and he makes the movement and the clear penalty on Jesus Navas.
“But the referee didn't whistle for both actions. We lost 2-1 but I think we are able to play the final of the League Cup.”