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Gareth Barry up there with the best for Everton boss Ronald Koeman

Published 21/08/2016

Gareth Barry, left, celebrates his goal at West Brom on Saturday
Gareth Barry, left, celebrates his goal at West Brom on Saturday

Ronald Koeman has been impressed by Gareth Barry since taking over at Everton and rates the veteran midfielder among the best players he has managed.

Aged 35, Barry shows no signs of easing up and on Saturday produced a typically combative display to help Everton to their first Premier League win of the season against West Brom.

Barry pulled the strings in central midfield at The Hawthorns and had a hand in both of his team's goals in the 2-1 victory.

He was involved in the lovely one-touch play that led to Kevin Mirallas' equaliser before marking his 100th Premier League appearance for the Toffees by heading home the winner.

It was his first goal in over two-and-a-half years since scoring in Everton's 2-0 home win over Norwich in January 2014.

Koeman said: " He is a very clever player on the pitch. His passing is fantastic. If the team is compact he doesn't need to run a lot in distance, he can press, he can win tackles, he is aggressive and he was in the box and that surprised me.

"It did not surprise me because he was in the box but because at corner kicks he took his position.

"He is one of the best players I have managed in my teams because the cleverness of him in football is really of a high quality."

The defeat left West Brom boss Tony Pulis even more eager to bring in reinforcements ahead of the transfer deadline at the end of this month.

Pulis would like to sign five players and highlighted the gulf between Albion and Everton in terms of the options available to Koeman from the bench.

"When they are able to bring (Romelu) Lukaku, (Yannick) Bolasie and (Ashley) Williams on, there's a little bit of quality there," said Pulis.

"You've got to recognise with Everton, and they are going to spend more by the sound of things, they have a team, or are close to a team, which they think will finish in the top six. There's a difference, but you've got to make that up some how.

"Our squad is stretched at the moment but they are a great group of lads who work very hard for one another and they've done that again. They do that every week, but we need to bring some players in."

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