Barry admits England stars must prove their worth

September 5, 2008
By Soccernet staff

Gareth Barry has insisted England have what it takes to get their World Cup qualifying campaign off to a flyer over the course of the next week.

Gareth Barry
GettyImages / HamishBlairThe England man has come under fire for his move.
The Aston Villa player knows that after a sustained period of under-achievement it is time 'for England to deliver' as Fabio Capello prepares for his first competitive game at the helm.

England travel to Barcelona to play Andorra on Saturday which should provide a regulation victory. But England laboured in this same fixture during their doomed bid to reach Euro 2008, with the match goalless at half-time and the players roundly booed.

Just four days after the Andorra re-match comes what will surely be a pivotal game in the World Cup qualifying group even though it comes so early in the campaign with England travelling to Zagreb to face Croatia, who eliminated them from the European Championships 10 months ago at Wembley.

England lost 2-0 to Croatia when the teams met in this fixture last time, with Paul Robinson's fresh air kick and the class of Eduardo doing the damage.

Barry knows that the players must send out a message against tiny Andorra and then take the confidence gained from that match into the Croatia showdown. And he insists they are ready for the challenge.

'I don't think we will lack any sharpness or not be ready for these qualifiers,' he said. 'The work we have done this week has set us up to be ready for them. The closer you get to any game, you can sense the players wanting to get out there and get the job done.

'It is time for England to deliver, definitely. This is what we are going to be judged on. Everyone knows that - the manager, the players and the staff. It is time to stand up and give 100% for the fans and get the job done.'

Barry, who made his England debut in 2000, is looking to build on his international renaissance after being involved in England's last 11 games during the past 12 months since being recalled by McClaren.

Barry continued: 'When you burst on to the scene at such a young age, a lot is expected of you. Then there was a massive gap really. I had a couple of caps here and there without really forcing myself in.

'The four years without an appearance for England was a big setback for myself. I am just glad my international career is up and running again.

'Steve McClaren gave me the chance and I am happy to feature under Mr Capello as well. It's been stop-start over the years but I'm relishing the opportunities at the moment.'

Barry is quick to give praise to Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill for playing a big part in his renaissance with his country.

He added: 'Martin O'Neill deserves a lot of credit. He is a good manager and he started playing me in centre midfield, which I always felt was my best position.

'If you put the two together, they are the two big factors as to why maybe I'm being talked about as an international player.'