On 25th September 2017, Gareth Barry broke Ryan Giggs’ record of most appearances in the Premier League by playing in his 633rd match. The England international had reached this milestone after top flight spells at Aston Villa, Manchester City, Everton and West Bromwich Albion. Barry's first appearance in the competition came on 2nd May 1998 for Aston Villa against Sheffield Wednesday.
The team Barry has faced the most in the Premier League is Manchester United, with 35 appearances against the Red Devils. They are also the side against whom he has lost the most matches (23). In contrast he has enjoyed the most wins against Newcastle United (15), while his most goals (five) and assists (four) have come versus Middlesbrough and Bolton Wanderers respectively.
Ryan Giggs (Manchester United), Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher (both Liverpool) are the only three players to have achieved the accolade of 500 plus Premier League appearances for one club. James Milner, Emile Heskey and David James have played for the most number of clubs (5) on their way to 500 plus Premier League games. The only player from outside the United Kingdom to play 500 Premier League games is Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer who played for Middlesbrough, Fulham, Chelsea and Leicester City.
Here are the top ten players with the most appearances in the Premier League :-
1. Gareth Barry - 653 Appearances
Gareth Barry had played 20 consecutive seasons in the top flight before suffering relegation with West Brom in 2018. He had made 653 appearances in the Premier League and is one of the most underrated English players. He possesses a superb range of passing and delivery from set pieces and in his later years developed into a composed, calm midfielder capable of dictating the tempo and pace of a match.
2. Ryan Giggs - 632 Appearances
Ryan Giggs enjoyed a trophy laden career at Man United and his 13 winners medals are the most by any player in the Premier League era. The Welshman began his career as a winger but converted into a deep lying midfielder in his later years. His record 162 Premier League assists is a testament to that.
3. Frank Lampard - 609 Appearances
A prolific goalscorer, Frank Lampard was the ultimate central midfielder and had his best years in a Chelsea shirt. He was voted as the Premier League player of the decade between 2001-2010 for his perfect passing, supreme fitness levels and goal scoring abilities. The 40 year old is now in charge of Derby County and received a hero’s reception when he returned to Stamford Bridge in October 2018.
4. David James - 572 Appearances
While high profile errors frequented his time at Liverpool, David James rebuilt his career and reputation as a solid goalkeeper capable of world class saves on any day at Portsmouth. With 169 clean sheets to his name, he lies second on the list of the most clean sheets in the Premier League.
5. Gary Speed - 535 Appearances
Described as a consummate professional, Gary Speed was known for his dedication and fitness levels, rarely picking up injuries or suspensions. He had played in the Premier League for three different clubs. The majority of his appearances came at Newcastle where he became a fan favourite even after departing for Bolton in 2004.