Date: 16th August 2017 at 5:39pm
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New signing Gareth Barry has said he’s relishing a new challenge at West Bromwich Albion following his arrival from Everton.

His new 12 month deal at The Hawthorns will see Barry through 20 years as a Premier League footballer and the tender age of 36 he knows he’s still got plenty to offer as he looks to set a new Premier League appearance record, sitting only a few games off Ryan Gigg’s own total.

Speaking to wba.co.uk after completing his move, Barry explained.

‘The way the game has gone now, age means absolutely nothing to me. I’m 36 but the advances in sports science have changed the way players think and approach their football. They don’t allow you to think in terms of age now. All the stats are there for every player. There is nowhere to hide anymore and I’d soon be found out if I could not compete at this level.’

Barry went on to say.

‘There is so much help out there for players now. When I started, you would turn up half an hour before training, do a session and walk away. Now you’re in an hour and a half before training with pre-activation and yoga, the recovery sessions. Everything has changed the way players can prolong their careers now.’

Sitting just five games shy of Ryan Gigg’s total of 632 top flight appearances, Barry has already passed Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand in the table and if he starts every game from here on in, he’ll take that crown against Arsenal on September 25.

‘It’s a huge target and I’ve been edging closer and closer, but my decision to come here hasn’t been based on that. I’m sure I could have scrambled over the line at Everton.’

With Everton offering him a deal as well, he went on to say.

‘I was happy at Everton and prepared to do my last year which included playing in European football this season. I was told by the club that there was interest from a couple of Premier League teams which got me thinking a bit. I had some great conversations with Ronald Koeman. He is a very honest manager and we discussed everything at length and he wanted to keep me around.’

Adding.

‘Did I want to stay at Everton? Which was very comfortable for me – but I realised I wasn’t going to be first choice as they were signing a lot of players. Was I ready for another challenge? So that’s where my head was. I heard of West Brom’s interest, thought long and hard about it and realised that was what I wanted. I am not the sort of player to sit back and be comfortable. I was really ready for this new challenge. I want to come and help the team. That’s always been the same for me wherever I have played. I want to help the team improve, work hard and hopefully add quality. I haven’t come here for an easy season. I could have done that Everton. I’ve come here to get to know my team-mates, hopefully play my part helping them and anybody who does know me knows they will get 100 per cent.’

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