Barry insists: Hargreaves and I can work in England midfield

Last updated at 13:50 23 March 2008


Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry is convinced he and Owen Hargreaves can

play effectively together in the same England team.

Manager Fabio Capello, in charge for the second time against France in Paris on Wednesday, is renowned for operating with a 4-2-3-1 formation incorporating two defensive midfielders.

Barry has made that role his own in the national side since returning from the

international wilderness under previous England boss Steve McClaren.

Hargreaves, one of England's stars of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, has had

his fair share of injury problems during the last two seasons but is preferred

to Manchester United team-mate Michael Carrick in the 23-man party to face

France.

And Barry believes the two can work together, saying: "I've been in a few

under-21 squads with Owen years back and this year when he's been in the England

squad.

"You get compared to any player who plays in your certain position.

"I don't think we are similar players. We play in the same sort of position -

or that's where the England manager sees us - but we can both do different jobs

and I'm sure we can play together too."

Barry concedes he is now feeling more relaxed about being part of the England

set-up after being named in Capello's first starting line-up against Switzerland

at Wembley last month.

He said: "The last time around I was pretty nervous with it being a new

manager because they always have different ideas from a previous regime.

"But once you're in, it settles you down and I was pretty confident I would

get back in this squad.

"At the same time you can never rest on your laurels and you should never

presume it's going to happen."

Barry, who made his full England debut in Paris nearly eight years ago as a

left-back under Kevin Keegan, admits there will be an extra sense of pride in

being part of the side if David Beckham wins his 100th cap.

"A lot of the headlines building up to the game will be about David Beckham

but on certain occasions like this, Beckham winning his 100th cap deserves the

headlines," he added.

"It's not often that a player achieves something like that and anyone being a

part of it will be proud to be there when he gets to the milestone."

Capello has indicated he will not make his mind up completely about who will be

his captain until the World Cup qualifiers and Barry could be an outsider for

the job.

But the 27-year-old, who is approaching 400 matches for Villa, said: "There's

been a lot of speculation and the manager may want to try a few different

captains. I'm not really that bothered about it.

"You can name so many players who are candidates or who have got a

possibility. I'm not going to choose anyone.

"A number of the squad are captains at their club and who do the job well so

it would be unfair to just single one out.

"There are also players in there that have captained their country before.

"I've not thought about it at all really. I'm sure anyone who turns down an

England captaincy would be foolish."

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now