Barry: Age is but a number

GARETH Barry believes advances in sports science mean age is but a number.

Albion's new midfielder arrives at The Hawthorns on a deal which will see him complete 20 years as a Premier League footballer.

But at the age of 36, Barry's fitness record proves he remains as competitive as ever to complement his passing range and precision left foot.

When Albion began looking into the transfer, they found a player whose in-game stats placed him among the top five midfielders last season.

"The way the game has gone now, age means absolutely nothing to me," he says. "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.

"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."

Barry arrives at the brink of an auspicious moment in Premier League football which ensures the eyes of the game will be on our Club within a few weeks.

He is just five appearances short of passing Ryan Giggs's currently record total of 632 appearances in the Premier League and has already out-stripped a stream of legendary figures including Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand.

If he starts for Albion at Burnley and plays in every game after, he will break the record at Arsenal on September 25.

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

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