Sunday, 4 October 2009

Barry's role

Mark Hughes has talked of the importance of Gareth Barry's role in the new City side:

“Gareth was always someone I had admired from afar,” Hughes declared. “I looked at his qualities, and the amount of games he had in the Premier League, and the amount of quality performances he had produced over a long period of time.

“He has a huge range of passing, can be constructive and destructive at times and I felt he was a player we needed to bring to the club. Thankfully we were able to do that very quickly, and to an extent I think it helped enable us get other players to come to the club.

“Gareth understood what we were trying to do here very quickly, and that we were able to get one of the key men in the England set-up to come to us really helped our strategy of acquisitions.”

He's right. The signing of Gareth Barry - and, in a similar way, Shay Given - have changed the fundamentals of this City side: from one - under both Eriksson and Hughes - capable of occasional artistic football but essentially a fairweather team, insufficiently gritty, insufficiently worldly. Barry and Given, though, have transformed this. (Robinho was never really a transformative signing: we already had one mercurial Brazilian capable of great things on the rare matches he wanted to play.)

Barry and Given just make me feel so much more confident watching City. With them, you know that for all that may go wrong we will always have a good chance of getting something - that not every mistake will result in our losing possession - such is Barry's control and awareness - and that not every shot on goal will result in our conceding - such is Given's command and agility.

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