Barry one of England's best ever, says Martinez
LONDON: Gareth Barry's performance in Everton's Capital One (League) Cup semi-final win against Manchester City on Wednesday night has led manager Roberto Martinez to describe the midfielder as "one of the best English players ever".
Barry provided the cross from which striker Romelu Lukaku sealed a 2-1 victory for Everton with his 19th goal of the season.
"I have never seen a player with such an incredible professionalism as Gareth Barry," Martinez told the BBC.
"For me, he is one of the best English players ever. He could reach 600 Premier League appearances this season."
The Spaniard credited Barry's influence for the number of young players that had successfully transitioned to Everton's first team in recent years.
"The reason we have so many developing young players is there are leaders in the mould of Gareth Barry. It is no coincidence when we have Gareth Barry around them," Martinez said.
"Gareth is one of those players who gets underrated."
Barry joined Everton on a free transfer from Manchester City at the start of the 2014-2015 season after spending a part of the previous season on loan at the Merseyside club.
The 34-year-old has racked up 582 Premier League appearances so far in an 18-year career that began at Aston Villa.