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Gareth Barry (born 23 February 1981) is an English footballer who currently plays as a midfielder for Manchester City in the English Premier League.
Barry moved to Aston Villa from Brighton & Hove Albion as a youngster, and spent 12 years at the club. He captained Aston Villa, and, as at the end of his career with the club, lay seventh in their all-time list of appearances. In June 2009, he joined Manchester City.
Barry is also an England international, having won his first full cap in 2000.
Born in Hastings, England, Barry attended William Parker Sports College in Hastings at the same time as Sussex cricketer Michael Yardy. An ex-England under-18
captain, Barry joined Aston Villa from Brighton and Hove Albion as a trainee in 1997 along with Michael Standing. The move was controversial as the Brighton board
demanded £2.5 million for the two players; the Football Association's transfer tribunal panel came up with a deal which would have seen Brighton make £2.4 million
in the event of Barry and Standing making international appearances for England, as well as sell-on clauses. He played his first match for Villa on
2 May 1998 against Sheffield Wednesday. Initially, he played as a central defender, on the left-hand side of a back three alongside Gareth Southgate and Ugo
Ehiogu. Barry since became a highly versatile player and captain. Starting as a centre-back, he then moved to the left-back position, then left-midfield, before
establishing himself in the centre of midfield.
In April 2005, Barry intervened in a controversial incident in a match against Newcastle United when two Newcastle United players, Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer, brawled with one another during the game.
In November 2007, it was reported that Aston Villa were set to award Barry a testimonial, at the age of just 26, to recognize his 10 years at the club. On 5 April 2008, Barry helped to break a run of bad form, scoring in a 4-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers. He scored two goals (his first two from open play that season) and he was also credited with two assists.
As of April 2008, Barry, approaching 400 total appearances for Aston Villa, was the longest serving player in the team. During the league game against Bolton Wanderers on 28 October 2007, Barry became the youngest player to appear in 300 Premier League games (aged 26 years 247 days), replacing former record-holder Frank Lampard.
In May 2008, Liverpool made a series of bids to buy Barry, all of which were rejected by Aston Villa. Barry publicly criticised his manager, Martin O'Neill, accusing him of making no attempt to keep him at the club, and further stating a desire to join Liverpool in order to compete in the Champions League. O'Neill denied this claim and Barry was officially disciplined for giving an unauthorised interview. A further bid from Liverpool of around £15 million was rejected as it was still short of Villa's £18 million asking price. Steve Finnan had then been offered in a part-exchange in the deal but the fee Villa would have wanted in this case was understood by the BBC to be £17 million with Steve Finnan.
Barry was then stripped of the Villa captaincy.
Barry remained an Aston Villa player, starting in a UEFA Cup tie against FH Hafnarfjordur, in which he scored in a 4-1 win. The goal against Hafnarfjordur was Barry's first European goal since he scored a penalty in the Intertoto Cup against Celta Vigo in 2000. On 18 September 2008, Barry made his 400th appearance in a Villa shirt in the UEFA Cup away to Litex Lovech: Barry scored a penalty as Villa won the match 3-1. He scored again for Villa as they beat Ajax 2-1 in their first UEFA Cup group match on 23 October 2008. Due to the transfer saga, O'Neill had taken the captaincy away from Barry and handed it to centre-back Martin Laursen for the 2008-09 season. Following Laursen's injury, the captaincy was restored to Barry in January 2009. In total, Gareth Barry made 441 appearances for Aston Villa, scoring 52 goals in the process.
On 2 June 2009, Barry signed a five-year contract with Manchester City for a fee of £12 million. Many Aston Villa fans publicly criticised Barry for this
move considering his alleged desire to play in the UEFA Champions League. However, Barry responded to this positively and wrote a letter to the Birmingham Mail in
which he thanked the Villa fans for their support while he was there, claiming that his move to City was for a "new challenge." Barry will wear the number 18 shirt. He
scored his first goal for the club in a 2-1 pre-season victory over Celtic. Barry scored his first Premier League goal for City in the Manchester derby versus
Manchester United on 20 September, bringing the score to 1–1; City went on to lose the game 4–3. On Barry's return to Villa Park, he was booed with every touch of
the ball. The match finished 1-1.
Barry made his England under-21 debut against the Czech Republic in 1998. He made 27 starts for the Under-21 side, a record since surpassed by fellow Aston Villa players, former on-loan goalkeeper Scott Carson and colleague James Milner.
First picked for the senior England side by Kevin Keegan, along with David Beckham, he is the only other England international to date to have played under every England manager since first selected by Keegan. After an injury to Jason Wilcox, he was able to travel to UEFA Euro 2000, but did not feature in any of the side's games. Barry made his England debut as a substitute in a pre-Euro 2000 friendly against Ukraine on 31 May 2000. His first start for England was in the 1-1 draw against France on 2 September 2000.
He made further England appearances in matches against South Africa, Serbia and Montenegro and Slovakia in 2003.
Barry was recalled to the England squad following a four-year international exile on 2 February 2007. Barry was resigned to never winning another cap under previous boss Sven-Göran Eriksson but Steve McClaren brought him back for the first time since March 2003. Barry was brought on at the beginning of the second half of the friendly match against Spain on 7 February 2007 as replacement for Steven Gerrard and played left midfield for the majority of the game, moving to left-back when Stewart Downing was brought on. England lost 1-0 thanks to a second half Andres Iniesta goal. On 25 May 2007, Barry played for England B in a 3-1 victory over Albania, getting an assist for England's first goal scored by Alan Smith. Barry renewed his England international career by coming on as a substitute, replacing Michael Carrick in a friendly against Germany, at Wembley. As confirmed by John Motson during the BBC Commentary for this game, Barry has now played under 5 different England Managers (including England U21 & England B-Team).
As a replacement for the injured Owen Hargreaves, Barry started in central midfield for England against Israel on 8 September 2007; with two assists and impressive overall play. He kept his place with Owen Hargreaves declared unfit for the match against Russia on 12 September 2007, and produced another stunning display, proving to be more than competent at international level. BBC pundits Ian Wright and Alan Shearer commented that Barry was immense in the centre of midfield alongside Gerrard, forming a wonderful partnership together, and further commented that he should have been given man of the match overall for the two performances against Israel and Russia.
He was also given the official man of the match for England's Euro 2008 home qualifier against Estonia. He was selected to start against Switzerland on 6 February 2008, the first game of the Capello era. He was again selected to start in England's friendly away to France on 26 March 2008. Barry scored his first international goal against Trinidad and Tobago on 1 June 2008, this completed a personal treble for Barry as he also captained England in the second half of his 20th cap.
Barry appeared in every one of England's ten games during the 2008–09 season up until the game against Andorra on 10 June 2009, for which he will be suspended, having picked up yellow cards in the games against Ukraine and Kazakhstan. In the game against Kazakhstan on 6 June, he scored his second international goal on his 13th cap, heading a cross from Steven Gerrard back across the goalkeeper and into the corner.
* Runners-up: 2000
* Winners: 2001 2008
Player of the Season
* Winner: 2006-07
Barry married his childhood sweetheart Louise in the summer of 2007. They have two children: a son, Oscar, and a daughter, Freya.