After Gareth Barry was missing from the 18 man squad against Stoke City (Muhamed Besic was named in his place), fans began to wonder if there was something to those West Brom rumors after all.
However, as it turned out, Barry had simply picked up a knock in training earlier in the week. Per Ronald Koeman:
Gareth twisted his ankle in our training session last Wednesday. He will be out for one more week…but it won’t be long.”
It’s undoubtedly good news that the injury is minor, but Everton could greatly miss Barry in the upcoming matches against Hajduk Split and Manchester City. Morgan Schneiderlin is the club’s most important player, and he has no true replacement when Barry is injured.
Gaz and the Frenchman possess a range of passing that is not present elsewhere in the team, and it’s very possible that Barry would have started against the Croatian club on Thursday.
Furthermore, when Everton have the lead late in a match, Barry allows Ronald Koeman to sub off Idrissa Gueye or Davy Klaassen and truly lock the match down with two holding midfielders in front of the defense.
Mo Besic, for his part, is a willing participant, but remains rusty and is not particularly suited for a role that requires staying at home. James McCarthy is another option, but generally seems to have been exiled after an incredibly poor preseason.
If Barry is not passed fit within the next several days, it’s probable that Schneiderlin will have to play three times in nine days. While Morgan is in the prime of his career and that would generally not be an issue, he did struggle a bit with injury last year, and it’s scary to not go into matches like this with no cover on the bench.
Get well soon, Gaz.