GARETH Barry has averaged 40 club appearances a season throughout his thirties – and Tony Pulis has “no doubts” he will continue to offer that level of consistency to Albion.
The 36-year-old returned some of the best fitness statistics among Premier League midfielders last season and Pulis has is confident his new player will continue in that vein.
“We’ve got no doubts about his fitness at all,” said Pulis. “We’ve checked out all the data and Gareth was in the top five of midfielders in the Premier League in terms of distance covered.
“There are no issues with his age whatsoever. We’ve also shown at this club that senior players who look after themselves can continue to compete consistently at a very high level. It has become the norm.
“We’re just really looking forward to working with him and integrating him into our squad. I think he’s going to be a great addition.”
Pulis is also pleased that a player of Barry’s experience and stature has come into his dressing room following the departure of former captain Darren Fletcher.
The former England man has rejected a two-year offer from Everton to come to The Hawthorns and Pulis believes that says everything about the player’s determination to continue to compete at the heart of Premier League football.
“There was a big void when we lost ‘Fletch’ and Gareth will fill that void,” said Pulis.
“He’s a fantastic player and I think his attitude towards playing is really gauged by the fact that Everton had offered him a two-year contract to stay there.
“He feels a one-year contract at West Brom is the best move for him which is tremendous for our club and shows you just how much he wants to play.”