Darren Moore: Gareth Barry will play a big part for West Brom this season
Gareth Barry will be a valuable player for the Baggies this season, according to boss Darren Moore, who has started to re-integrate the veteran midfielder into his side.
Barry was one of four senior players who allegedly stole a taxi in Barcelona last season, and he bore the brunt of the fans’ fury after that incident thanks to poor performances on the pitch.
His relationship with supporters soured further when he was pictured in Snobs nightclub before a home game with Burnley, although he was unavailable for selection through injury.
The 37-year-old contemplated leaving the Baggies in the summer before taking up his option of an extra year’s contract.
He was booed by the home fans when he came off the bench against QPR, but received a much warmer reception this week when Moore made him captain for the Carabao Cup win over Mansfield.
“Gareth is a very intelligent player, somebody that understands the game, and the different challenges,” said Moore. “He’s one that can spot danger. He’s effective with the ball at feet, his work in and out of possession is excellent.
“The 90 minutes (against Mansfield) will have done him the world of good. He was the glue that kept everything together from back to front and he’ll be a valuable player for us this season.”
A few months ago, there looked to be no way back into the team for Barry, but his performance against Mansfield suggested he could provide competition in midfield.
And Moore hopes Albion fans will now rally behind the former England international.
“I hope there was no real animosity towards him anyway,” said Moore. “Gareth Barry is a tremendous player, we’re delighted to have him at the club.
“He’s a had a wonderful career, if he was sitting here now, he’d still say he has a lot to do and a lot to prove in his career.
“He’s worked hard in pre-season, and for somebody of Gareth’s age to affect games the way he does, his fitness is good. He’ll play a big part.”
But Albion's head coach dismissed the notion that handing him the armband in midweek was a message to the fans to rally behind him.
“The captain’s armband shouldn’t display that,” he said. “We’re here as West Bromwich Albion, we’re one.
“Fans, players, staff alike, whichever player pulls an Albion jersey on I’d expect to support each other, right the way through the club.
“I would expect that message of support to go right through the football club, whatever department or whatever job we’re in.
“I’m delighted Gareth was captain, and I’m delighted he led the team to victory that night and into the third round of the Cup.”