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Roberto gave me back my confidence.

Byline: Phil Kirkbride on a born again Blue

GARETH BARRY has thanked Everton manager Roberto Martinez for the confidence trick whjch has revived his career.

And the on-loan midfielder has strongly hinted that he wants to make his stay at Goodison Park permanent at the end of the season.

The 32-year-old revealed this week that a visit from Martinez in the summer breathed life into his career.

Barry was being frozen out at Manchester City under new manager Manuel Pellegrini and was facing up to a season on the sidelines at the Etihad Stadium.

But Everton offered him a way out on a season-long loan and he is now targeting Champions League football with the Blues - as well as a place in England's World Cup squad.

"When I didn't travel to Helsinki for a pre-season game (against Arsenal in August) Roberto Martinez found out I wasn't in the squad, got permission to speak to me and came round to my house," Barry said in a wide ranging interview.

"I thought 'he's making a big effort here'.

"The moment I spoke to the manager, I thought 'I like this bloke, he has a good vision'.

"Within 10 minutes he'd given me my confidence back, telling me he believed in me, that I could be a focal part of Everton and what we could do at Everton.

"He left my house and I was thinking 'this is the move for me.' " Barry added: "The top target is getting into the Champions League.

"If we break into that top four with the amount of good teams around, we've had a fantastic year. We can do it.'' Barry says he and Everton will not discuss a permanent transfer until the end of the season.

But the former Aston Villa captain is already looking hopefully towards May.

"Everton fans don't just come to watch the football," he said.

"They are there for Everton, the club.

"They really believe in the history of the club. It's drilled through their families, through the years, about Everton.

"When I see them they say: 'You'd better be signing next season!' Every time! My answer is the same every time: 'Hopefully! Hopefully!' That's a genuine answer.

"From day one, the manager said: 'I'm not going to put any pressure on you throughout the season.

"We'll have the conversation in the summer, see how the club feel about you, see how you feel about the club and take it from there.' "I'm more than halfway through the season now and it couldn't have gone any better. It's going to be a nice conversation to be having come the end of the season.'' Barry has been in impressive form this season at the heart of Everton's midfield and hopes to have done enough to get back in the national squad.

But the Premier League winner says there is definitely one player at Goodison who should be going to Brazil this summer: his midfield partner Ross Barkley.

"He's a big wild card England should use," Barry added.

"In terms of natural ability and things he can do with the ball, Ross gives something different to what we've got in this country.

"People spoke about him playing deeper but from what I've seen No 10 has to be his position.

"He can keep improving. He's so young.

"He's perfect going into something as big as a World Cup as he won't have any fears.

"He'll just go out and do what he thinks is best.''

Everton fans don't just come to watch the football. They are there for Everton, the club. They really believe in the history of the club. It's drilled through their families, through the years, about Everton. Gareth Barry


BARRY ON THE BOSS: "The moment I spoke to the manager I thought 'I like this bloke. he has a good vision.'
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 21, 2014
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