Everton manager Roberto Martinez has hailed veteran midfielder Gareth Barry and said the 35-year-old will go on to break the Premier League record for most top-flight starts, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.
Barry has been an important player for the Toffees this season, making 34 appearances in all competitions and missing just one league match all season, although the club have struggled to force their way into the top half of the table.
The former Aston Villa and Manchester City man has started 568 Premier League matches since making his debut in the competition for Villa as a 17-year-old at the end of the 1997-98 season.
That figure is just three short of David James' record of 571 starts, and only 42 short of Ryan Giggs' all-time appearance-record since the Premier League began in 1992.
Martinez, who signed Barry initially on loan from City in September 2013 before handing him a three-year permanent deal the following summer, hailed the experienced player's qualities and seemed in no doubt that he would surpass James' achievement.
The Spanish boss said, according to quotes in the Echo: "Gareth has been probably the most consistent character we have had in our dressing room over the past three seasons,” Martinez said.
"He is going to break the record for number of starts in the Premier League and that is not an easy stat to achieve, and it goes down to his character.
"The character to know how to perform in every single situation, how to be a source of inspiration and someone who has incredibly high standards in any situation, which is a very good picture for any youngster at the football club."
Barry, who is a Premier League winner with City and who won 53 caps for England between 2000 and 2012, has been a key figure under Martinez since his arrival at Goodison Park, playing 115 times in all competitions in less than three years on Merseyside.