Everton manager Roberto Martinez has paid tribute to midfielder Gareth Barry ahead of what is set to be his 500th Premier League appearance.
The England international will become the 10th player in Premier League history to reach the landmark if he features in the club’s fixture against Newcastle United at Goodison Park on Monday.
Barry made his debut against Sheffield Wednesday in May 1998 and will join the likes of Frank Lampard and Ryan Giggs in featuring 500 times in the top flight.
The 32-year-old moved to Manchester City in June 2009 and was part of the side that won the FA Cup in 2011 and the Premier League title in 2012.
Martinez then took him to Goodison Park on a loan deal in August and the Spaniard hailed Barry’s professionalism.
“I don’t think there are many more significant records than that,” he said.
“I think it represents his professionalism, the way he looks after himself, the way he sees the game and the experience that he brings into any side.
“And you can add the 50 appearances he’s had for England so far. He’s in such a great moment in his career.”
Martinez also praised Barry’s impact since arriving at the Merseyside club and backed him to continue playing at the top level for a number of years.
“Gareth could be a very significant player for Everton for years to come,” he continued. “When you see a player perform the way Gareth did on his home debut, straight away you see a perfect fit.
“I think Gareth can play up to his 40s. The longer he plays and the older he gets he will be able to influence the team in a different way like Ryan Giggs has done at Manchester United.”