Aston Villa’s 3-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday in May 1998 is not a match that would necessarily be instantly recalled by many, but for a 17-year-old Gareth Barry it was the beginning of a long – and perhaps unexpected – record-breaking career.
Barry will claim the Premier League appearance record from Ryan Giggs after being selected as West Brom’s captain for their match at Arsenal on Monday.
The experienced midfielder moved level with Giggs on 632 appearances in West Brom’s 0-0 draw with West Ham and is destined to overtake the Manchester United legend at Emirates Stadium, more than 19 years on from his debut.
Barry went on to play 365 times in the Premier League for Villa, before eventually joining Manchester City in 2009 and then Everton four years later.
He joined West Brom at the start of the season and has quickly established himself as a vital part of Tony Pulis’ team, playing four of their five league fixtures ahead of the Arsenal game.
With the help of Opta data, we look at the best statistics from Barry’s historic career in England’s top division.
600 – Of his 632 Premier League appearances before the trip to Arsenal, a record 600 have been from the start. Former goalkeeper David James (571) comes in second, while Frank Lampard (546) has the next best tally among outfield players.
119 – Barry has picked up a total of 119 yellow cards during his Premier League career and that is currently a record, with Wayne Rooney (100) closest to him.
17 – There have been 17 players born after Barry’s top-flight debut to have played in the Premier League.
261 – Only nine players have enjoyed more wins in the Premier League than Barry’s 261, with Giggs (407) out in front.
186 – However, Barry is also among those to have lost the most amount of Premier League games with 186 defeats. Only Kevin Davies (194), James (197) and Mark Schwarzer (200) have been on the beaten side more times.
19,340 – There have been almost 20,000 goals scored in the top flight since Barry made his debut for Villa.
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