Exclusive: Pundit tips West Brom player to accept new contract ahead of playing 'Huge role'
We’re delighted to welcome former West Brom striker Kevin Phillips as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at The Hawthorns…
Kevin Phillips believes that Gareth Barry will accept a short-term contract extension at West Brom so that he can see out the season at The Hawthorns.
As it stands, the 39-year-old midfielder’s deal expires at the end of June but Albion’s final fixture of the 2019/20 campaign doesn’t take place until July 27.
It means that the Baggies have to secure Barry to a contract extension for the next month or so and The Athletic has reported that is expected to happen.
Although Barry has barely featured this season, Phillips believes that it’s crucial to get the veteran midfielder tied down until July 27 due to the impact a player like him has in the dressing room.
“He’ll provide cover like he has done for much of the season,” the pundit told West Brom News.
“I spent a few hours with him down at Cheltenham and he pretty much accepts that.
“The club are being a little bit clever and shrewd in terms of when you are pushing for promotion, you need experienced players in your squad. Not just on the pitch but off the pitch as well and Gareth will be seen as one of those who’ll be in the dressing room talking to the young players and helping the senior players.
“There are him, Brunty and Livermore, you’ve got some experienced players there so I think it’s a wise move from the club and I’m sure Gareth will accept.
“He won’t get much game-time but I’m pretty sure he’ll play a huge role off the pitch.”
Barry has played just six times in all competitions for West Brom this season with him earning just the one start in the Championship.
In that start, the former Aston Villa and Manchester City man featured for 60 minutes of a 2-0 defeat to Middlesbrough at The Hawthorns.
Albion’s loss to Boro marked the end of a 14-match unbeaten run and Barry hasn’t played in the league since.
Although he has the experience, Barry simply isn’t good enough to start for West Brom anymore so, as Phillips says, any contract extension for the midfielder will be for his off-field impact and not his ability on the pitch.
In other West Brom news, there’s been an update on Albion’s reported pursuit of this international striker.