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Midfield pair key to Everton’s campaign

Gareth Barry and James McCarthy have played a key part for Everton this season

Gareth Barry and James McCarthy have played a key part for Everton this season

Everton have enjoyed a superb campaign so far this season and many players have earned praised this season.

The likes of Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku seem to have received all the plaudits and glory.

However, there are two players in the Everton team that never seem to receive the glory, yet are vital to the way the Toffees play.

Those players are central midfield pair Gareth Barry and James McCarthy.

The Toffees face a tricky trip to Swansea later today and could move back into the top four with a win at the Liberty Stadium.

Much of Everton’s good form has been down to the ever dependable midfield pair.

Sceptical

When the pair arrived at Goodison in the summer, both signings were met with slight scepticism. Everton do not spend big money often and Republic of Ireland international McCarthy cost the Merseysider’s £13million.

Many questioned the wisdom of boss Roberto Martinez for spending such big money on a player, who many thought was not worth the transfer fee. The 23-year-old has set about proving his doubters wrong though, producing a series of energetic and effective performances in the centre of the Everton midfield.

The former-Wigan star has the potential to go on and become a very good player. He has the ability to go forward as well as sit. If there is one part his game he needs to improve it his goal scoring record.

He may be regarded as a defensive midfielder, but next to Barry is regarded as the more attacking of the duo. If he could add goals to his game then he could very well become a top player for Everton.

McCarthy’s midfield partner in crime Gareth Barry is one of the most underrated players in the Premier League. Signed on a season-long loan deal he is the man that holds the midfield together. The 32-year-old plays the right passes at the right time and more importantly he hardly ever misplaces a pass.

Barry’s arrival was also met with a lukewarm reception from the Goodison faithful. However, he has already proved his worth to the Toffees and the Everton fans now see why Martinez signed the former-Villa player.

Barry is the consummate professional and a manager’s dream. He does the dirty work in the centre of the midfield, but can also produce a pass, two qualities that very rarely go together except in truly top players.

The defensive midfielder also has the impressive statistic that he has managed to score in the last 12 Premier League seasons and netted in the Toffees 4-1 victory over Fulham last weekend. Barry’s contract is up at City in July and it seems that both parties would be happy to make the deal a permanent one.

Style

When Roberto Martinez arrived at Goodison Park this summer he brought with him his philosophy and style of play. The Spaniard identified McCarthy and Barry as two players perfect for the style of the play.

Barry and McCarthy know exact what their manager wants and give him it. They sometimes get overlooked, because they do the tidying up in midfield, but the pair allows the likes of Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas and Steven Pienaar to be more creative up field.

Realistic

The signings of Barry and McCarthy were a sign that Martinez was putting his mark on the Everton team. Their performance in the centre of the Everton midfield has helped the Toffees put in with a realistic chance of qualifying for the Champions League this season.

Everton have hovered just below the top four for the last few seasons under former-boss David Moyes. However, the Toffees look a far more expansive team under Martinez and his two midfield signings have been a key to the team’s position in the Premier League.

If Everton does achieve a top four finish, then the likes of Lukaku and Barkley will no doubt received many of the plaudits. However, it Everton do qualify for the Champions League then Barry and McCarthy will have played a big role in the achievement.

Could Everton’s midfield pair help Everton to finish in the top four?

Sun 22 December, 2013
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