independent

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Barry still harbours England hopes

Gareth Barry has been in fine form for Everton this term

Gareth Barry has not given up hope of forcing his way back into the England reckoning for this summer's World Cup.

The 32-year-old midfielder, enjoying a new lease of life at Everton on a season-long loan from Manchester City, offered manager Roy Hodgson a reminder of his quality against Norwich on Saturday.

Hodgson was at Goodison Park as Barry struck a superb goal from 20 yards and delivered a fine all-round display in a comfortable 2-0 Everton win.

Barry has been out of the international picture since suffering an abdominal injury in a friendly against Norway immediately prior to Euro 2012.

He was forced to miss that tournament and further problems at the start of the following season ended chances of an immediate recall, but Barry hopes he caught Hodgson's eye this weekend.

He said: "I'm not sure he would be expecting me to be scoring goals but that was a solid performance as well.

"I'm definitely still available. I've not spoken to the manager since I got injured after the Euros so we will see.

"The manager knows about my game so it's not like I'm young and coming through.

"The manager has used players, rightly, who have got the team qualified and generally he will, I'm sure, stick with those.

"But if things occur and he needs another player I'm definitely still here."

Barry, who has 53 caps, believes his experience could serve England well at the World Cup in Brazil.

He said: "It won't be a case of joining up and being fresh and nervous, I would be able to settle straight back in and I'm sure the manager knows that. We will see."

Despite that, Barry is not thinking too much about life beyond the end of the season. With no indication he should make plans for the World Cup, he might even think about booking summer holidays soon.

He said: "This time of year you generally do look at them. I'm not going to lie, I will start looking if I don't hear anything soon."

Everton team-mate Phil Jagielka, someone more firmly in Hodgson's World Cup plans, has no doubt Barry could serve England well.

The centre-back said: "Gaz has got nothing to prove to anyone.

"He has been a fantastic professional and is still doing a fantastic job for Everton.

"I am sure it (England) is in the back of his mind but he still wants to do a job for us.

"Hopefully he keeps himself fighting fit and he can find a few more thunderbolts between now and the end of the season."

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