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Barry ready for 'new challenge'

16 August 2017

GARETH Barry insists the prospect of a new challenge at Albion helped him make the difficult decision to leave Everton.

The Baggies' newest recruit has signed initially for one season despite having the offer to extend his stay at Goodison Park.

The former England midfielder was named Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year for the 2015/16 season, testimony to the enduring appreciation of his qualities on the blue half of Merseyside.

"I was happy at Everton and prepared to do my last year which included playing in European football this season," he explained.

"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 (Everton manager) Ronald Koeman. He is a very honest manager and we discussed everything at length and he wanted to keep me around.

"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."

His views on Albion are shaped by some tough battles down the years and a genuine respect for the Club's growth and development since he broke through as a 17-year-old at Aston Villa nearly 20 years ago.

Barry added: "Looking in from the outside, there is great stability here as is proven by their eight successive seasons now in the Premier League.

"There are a few other teams around which would love that record and that proves it's not easy. The Club deserves great credit for what they have done here and Tony has kept it improving.

"And the team is always difficult to play against – it's never an easy game. I'm really looking forward to being part of the squad. They are a really friendly bunch and I already know a few of the lads. It seems a very friendly camp and I can't wait to get started."


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