After completing his permanent move to Everton, penning a three-year on Tuesday, Gareth Barry believes that his partnership with James McCarthy can get even better throughout the oncoming campaign with the benefit of a full pre-season programme behind them – something which they didn’t have the advantage of last season.
The midfielder said: “James and I had a great season in terms of staying fit, playing a lot of games together and understanding each others games o the back of a last-minute to be brought in here.”
And to think that they both may not have been at the club at all, only for the sale of Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United freeing up the funds to pay the £13 million that Whelan insisted on being paid for McCarthy and the wages for Barry’s loan move.
Although they were both last minute signings through the Finch Farm gates they slotted into the team straight away and looked as though they had been playing here for years. They formed an immediate understanding in the heart of the Blues midfield. McCarthy’s youthful energy, covering every blade of grass (because all us Everton fans know that two thirds of the world is covered by water, the rest by James McCarthy!), fitting perfectly with Barry’s wise footballing brain and intelligent passing in the anchor man role.
Speaking after completing his move, Barry said: “I’m hopeful that a full pre-season with the team can improve myself, James as well and the whole team all together.
“Our main challenge at Everton this season is the expectation. Last season we produced some fantastic football and got some great results.
“As always, people will be expecting that again. It’s up to us to do that and along the way we’ve got European football to focus on too.
“There are some tough tasks ahead but we’ve got to be prepared for that expectation.”
The midfielder is also delighted to be back playing for Roberto Martinez, a manager who values his merits after his previous boss had made an instant assessment of Barry’s abilities – in that he didn’t need him in his side.
He said: “A manager knows a player’s strengths when he puts you into a team and lets you play to them.
“There are certain formations and movements to make on the pitch that are going to suit your game.
“It’s not just me the manager looks at like that, it’s every single player. He finds a spot in the team that’s going to suit them and that was one of the main things for me.
“Any player would want to stay at a club and get settled.
“It does make things so much easier in day-to-day life enjoying your football.
“I’ve not experienced moving around constantly but I can imagine it could be tough mentally and affect your football.
“Last season certainly helped me in terms of making a decision here for another three years and I’m really settled.”