Tony Pulis has saluted Gareth Barry with the West Brom midfielder set to equal the Premier League appearance record.
Former England man Barry will draw level with Ryan Giggs on 632 games if he plays against West Ham on Saturday.
He is then in line to break the record at Arsenal on September 25, and West Brom manager Pulis praised the 36-year-old’s ability and longevity.
“It is a wonderful achievement, we have only just had him a few weeks,” Pulis said.
“I have always rated him as a player but you don’t realise how good he is until you actually work with him. Managers who have had him for longer periods are better versed talking about Gareth than myself.
“But he has been absolutely fantastic for us. He is a great lad off the pitch, he has mixed in really well with the rest of the lads and has been our best player in nearly all the games we have played so far.
“He is a top person and a top player. You don’t play that many games without being extremely useful.”
Barry made 365 appearances for Aston Villa, after making his debut as a second-half substitute in a 3-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday in May 1998, before playing 132 times in the top flight for Manchester City.
He featured 131 times for Everton and has played three games for West Brom after signing for around Â£800,000 in the summer.
He also won the Premier League with Manchester City in 2012 and earned 53 England caps.
“I think if you speak to the supporters who have supported the clubs Gareth has played for, they will always tell you that he has been an outstanding performer for them – and a consistent performer,” said Pulis.
“We are very, very pleased to have him and it’s a privilege to work with him.”
Pulis could be without Oliver Burke (hamstring) and Nacer Chadli against the Hammers but Hal Robson-Kanu is available after a ban and Gareth McAuley is fit again following a thigh problem.
Albion are looking to hit back against West Ham after a 3-1 defeat at Brighton last week.
Pulis added: “They have been good, complacency is a word that I don’t like, I can’t stand it. We have got a chance to put it right tomorrow.”
Published at Fri, 15 Sep 2017 09:53:57 +0000