Gareth Barry, has been named as England captain for the friendly against Ghana tomorrow evening and has hailed it being a “massive moment” in his career.
In the absence of John Terry, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand, the Manchester City midfielder will lead out his country for the first time against the World Cup quarter-finalists.
The 30 year-old was omitted from the England squad that took on Wales at the weekend – Lampard, Scott Parker and Jack Wilshere were the chosen midfield trio, whilst James Milner and Stewart Downing were on the substitutes bench – and whilst he was disappointed not to be involved, he is looking forward to leading out the Three Lions at Wembley.
“Obviously it’s going to be a massive moment in my career. I’m really looking forward to doing the job,” said Barry.
“I will be the same player I always am. You don’t put the armband on and change.
“I’ve got experience of three years captaining Aston Villa. There is some extra responsibility but I won’t change the way I play.
“I was disappointed not to be involved on Saturday but in football things can change quickly,” he said.
“I didn’t play against Wales then two days later I have been asked to captain my country. That’s how much can happen in a short space of time.”
England boss Fabio Capello is expected to make numerous changes to the England side that emerged with a convincing 2-0 victory at the Millennium Stadium, and whilst the Italian’s decision to allow those players still involved in Champions League campaigns to return to their clubs before the friendly has come in for criticism, Barry believes that it gives other members of the squad the chance to impress.
“I can certainly see the reasons for this decision. It’s a tough part of the season now,” added Barry
“There are a lot of games in a short period of time and they are big games.
“I know the fans have bought their ticket to see certain individuals perform for England, but at the same time the rest of the players were in the squad from the start. They weren’t just called up at the last minute.”
England manager Fabio Capello has already announced that he is likely to make seven changes from the side that started against Wales, and that Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill and Andy Caroll will all start against the Black Stars. It’s believed that James Milner and Aaron Lennon are also likely starters, but Kyle Walker has returned to Aston Villa with a slight injury.