Gareth Barry names the two managers who helped him convert to a defensive midfielder

Everton Goodison 2

The Everton midfielder can equal the Premier League starts record against Liverpool on Wednesday evening.

Everton midfielder Gareth Barry has revealed to the club's programme the two managers he credits with helping him convert to a defensive midfielder as his career wore on, naming former England coach Fabio Capello and ex-Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini as the biggest influences on his transition.

Barry can equal the record of his former Aston Villa teammate David James by making his 571st Premier League start if he is named in Roberto Martinez's XI to face Liverpool in the Merseyside derby at Anfield on Wednesday night.

Part of the secret to the 35-year-old's longevity in the top flight has been his ability to adapt, having played at centre-back, left-back, left midfield and centre midfield during his career.

He has played in the centre of the pitch since his last few years at Villa under Martin O'Neill, but as his career has worn on he has moved increasingly deep and has spent recent seasons operating mainly as a holding presence in front of the defence.

Barry acknowledges that this was a deliberate change he made to help prolong his career, and credits Capello and Mancini, the manager who took over at City a few months after his arrival in 2009, for helping him excel in the role.

Barry told the Everton programme: "I had to change my game because, previously, I had been more of a box-to-box player at Aston Villa. As I got older, I thought that if I wanted to carry on playing at the highest level I would have to turn into a defensive midfielder. And why not learn the right way to do it?”

"It was when Fabio Capello came in as England manager that I learnt more about the role of being a defensive midfielder. He was big on video work. He would also stop training to point out where he would want you or where you should be.

"He was one of those managers that, if you made a mistake, he would let you know. He wasn’t one for mincing his words – he’d scream his head off if you were in the wrong place. Roberto Mancini at Manchester City was of the same mindset. The Italians have that know-how with the art of defending and those two managers have had a big impact on me learning the defensive mindset."

Despite being just seven years younger than Toffees manager Martinez, Barry has been a regular for the Merseyside club this season and has missed just three Premier League matches.

He will be hoping to equal the league record for starts by continuing in the Spaniard's side against Jurgen Klopp's Reds tonight at Anfield.

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