Mark Hughes has declared that Gareth Barry may be given some rest after a busy few months for club and country - but not just yet.
Other than making way for Michael Johnson for a few minutes against both West Ham and Scunthorpe, Barry has been an ever-present for the Blues so far this season.
Factor in five England appearances plus a full pre-season and it adds up to an intensive start to Barry’s City career, but he is set to face Liverpool this weekend despite returning from international duty with a slight niggle.
Hughes says, “Gareth came back from his international with a little bit of soreness. We’ll have to manage that, and it’s important that we do because there will be certain games where Gareth will be rested.
“It’s a long season, and a lot of the distance that team travels lands at Gareth’s feet. He’s more than capable of coping with that, but there are going to be times where we’ll have to protect him. He has a slight problem with his groin but it should not be a problem for the weekend, but looking ahead there will be times when we will look to protect him.
“We’re mindful of the fact that Gareth has played so much for us and for England already this season. Luckily we have the squad and the players where we can do that, and we want to keep him fresh and well for key games.”
England’s solitary game in this break means that Gareth was back with City at Carrington at the start of the week, and with Liverpool looming large the Manager is pleased that he was able to start preparations earlier than normal in at the end of an international break.
He has a slight problem with his groin but it should not be a problem for the weekend, but looking ahead there will be times when we will look to protect him.
...Mark Hughes on Gareth Barry...
“There were a few back early in the week,” he explains, “which was unusual because these breaks are usually a double-header for most. Most countries concerning our squad have just had the one game, so thankfully a lot of the guys were back in training on Monday.
“The vast majority are now here for a session on Thursday, which we don’t usually have immediately after internationals so that’s a big plus for us given the level of game we have ahead of us on Saturday.”