West Bromwich Albion midfielder Gareth Barry left Everton for the Baggies in order to prevent his career from fizzling out on the substitutes' bench. He has now told of how he went against the wishes of Toffees manager Ronald Koeman by leaving Merseyside for the Midlands.
Barry, 36, joined Tony Pulis' side just before the start of the new season and has quickly established himself as a regular starter for West Brom, who are preparing to take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Monday (25 September).
The former Aston Villa and Manchester City star will break the all-time Premier League appearance record if he features against the Gunners, and is content to be playing regular football with West Brom rather than appearing sporadically at Everton, who have not started the new season in the most encouraging fashion.
Barry did appear for the Toffees in the Europa League earlier this season, but with Morgan Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gueye ahead of him in the pecking order his chances of game-time were always going to be few and far between – though his departure was still enough to draw the wrath of Koeman.
"I'd been speaking to Ronald Koeman for three weeks before it eventually happened," Barry told The Express. "I thought, 'Do you really want to end your career playing the odd game, being on the bench or just being in and around the place?' A lot of players generally finish like that.
"He wasn't happy with me because he wanted me to stay around and felt I was going to get enough game time.
"I didn't want to slowly go down that road of fizzling out, which I thought I might have done at Everton.
"I want to go as long as possible. Any ex-players and all my family say 'play as long as possible because there'll be plenty of time to sit back and do different things.'"
Though his place in the Everton side was no longer guaranteed, Barry was a very influential figure in the Toffees' dressing room, which is currently smarting after a poor run of results in the Premier League and Europe.
Koeman's men have not won in the league since the opening day and will be hoping to emerge victorious when they host Bournemouth, who were on the end of a 6-3 hiding when they last visited Goodison Park.