Everton midfielder Gareth Barry has revealed that Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard persuaded him to make a switch to Anfield before joining Manchester City from Aston Villa.
The 35-year-old left Villa Park and a made a switch to the Etihad in 2009. After spending four seasons with City, he signed for the Reds' local rivals Everton on-loan in 2013, before joining them on a permanent transfer a year later.
Gerrard left the Merseyside club after the end of the last season. He played alongside Barry for England and the former Liverpool captain was hoping that Barry could also be his teammate at Anfield.
"Steven had heard I'd agreed terms with City and called me up. "Are you sure you've made your mind up? Is there anything that can change your mind? Tell me it isn't the money," Barry told the Daily Mail.
"I took it as a huge compliment Steven wanted me at Liverpool. I said it wasn't just the money, my mind was made up and Manchester City was the right one. In hindsight, it was the right decision."
Benitez failed to convince him to sign for the Reds
Rafael Benitez was then managing Liverpool while City had Mark Hughes at the helm. Barry believed the Spaniard failed to convince him to sign for the Reds. It was the former Manchester United star's approach that played a role in his decision to join City.
"I met the City manager Mark Hughes in a hotel. He emphasised the ambition of the owners. He described it as a speeding train and his advice was to jump on," he said.
"I also spoke to Rafa Benitez at Liverpool but he didn't completely convince me. He said he wanted me to come in, play left-back, left midfield, centre midfield. That's what I'd done at Villa, it wasn't for me anymore."
Focus on FA Cup
Everton are struggling under Roberto Martinez this season as they sit in the second half of the table after their latest defeat to Liverpool in the league. The Toffees are in the FA Cup and will face Manchester United in the semifinal later this week.
Barry has urged his teammates to shift their focus on winning the FA Cup and the former City man has backed his manager, despite their latest struggles.
"He's a very good manager and been very good for me. I generally believe you get what you deserve in football but this season, more than any other in my career, I don't feel we've had the results our performances have merited,” Barry stressed.
He added, "Confidence and momentum are huge in sport. Having said that we have everything to play for, this could still be one of Everton's best seasons in recent years. We are two games away from winning a major trophy and we have to believe we can do that.”
"You play the game to win things and if you asked me whether I would want to finish in the top four or win the FA Cup, it'd be FA Cup every time."Published 21 Apr 2016, 07:43 IST