Gareth Barry capable of playing until he's 40, says Harvey Barnes
Gareth Barry's younger team-mates believe he is capable of playing on until he is 40.
The veteran midfielder, who turns 38 in February, is enjoying his first ever campaign in the second tier after 20 consecutive seasons in the Premier League.
He’s worked his way into the Baggies team in recent weeks, and has started four of the last six games for Darren Moore.
In Albion’s last fixture, a 4-1 victory over Reading, he completed the full 90 minutes and started the match as captain.
Harvey Barnes was born just six months before Barry made his Villa debut 20 years ago, but the youngster believes his experienced team-mate, who has played 770 senior games, can continue into his 40s.
“I don’t see why not,” said Barnes, who is currently away with England under-21s. “He has had a great career and I’m sure he’d like it to continue here (at Albion).
“He is massive for the team. You can see when he steps into the team it sort of brings a calmness around the place.
“You see it in training all the time but when you are out there on a Saturday he just brings that composure and he has got a great left foot.
“Everyone knows what he has achieved in his career and he is a real asset to the team.”
Crawley Town midfielder Dannie Bulman, who turns 40 in January, is currently the oldest player in league football.
And Barry isn’t even the oldest player in the Championship, because that accolade goes to Peter Crouch.
But Barnes is grateful for the midfielder’s tips in the dressing room.
“He helps the young lads,” he said. “He is great in the changing room and with the young lads stepping up from the academy, he really helps them. He is just a great person to have in the dressing room.”
Barry may be quietly influencing games from the base of midfield, but Barnes has put in more eye-catching performances further up the pitch.
However, he praised Albion’s lethal strike duo of Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle.
“When you’ve got quality like Jay and Dwight up there, it is always a confidence booster,” he said. “You know you are going to create chances for them and they are going to create chances for you.
“It is exciting times for the team. It is great we are all scoring goals and setting each other up.”
Barnes could make his England under-21 debut against Scotland under-21s at Tynecastle tomorrow night.
But he will not meet Albion team-mate Oliver Burke, who isn’t in the Scotland U21 squad.
Burke has found minutes hard to come by this season for the Baggies, and according to reports, has recently been watched by scouts from Brighton, Newcastle and Tottenham.