Gareth Barry tops the starters menu

The sacking of Roberto Martinez brings a disappointing season towards an ignominious close at Everton but, amid the doom and gloom, there is a reason for a cheer around the Goodison Park ranks.

Although the Toffees’ final away game of the 2015-16 campaign at Sunderland did mean they had won only one of their last ten league games, it was a notable occasion for veteran midfielder Gareth Barry as he became a new record breaker.

It was the 35 year-old’s 572nd start in his Premier League career, so beating the competition record held by ex-England keeper David James.

Almost 18 years ago to the day, the former Manchester City man made his first full appearance in the Premier League as a centre-back for Aston Villa against Arsenal at Villa Park on 10 May 1998.

Hastings-born Barry will hope to extend his record towards the 600-mark as he still has a year left on his Everton contract.

Capped 53 times by England, he is one of six players to have so far started 500 or more Premier League games.

Frank Lampard finished on 546 while Ryan Giggs, who holds the competition for the most overall appearances (632), began 522 games for Manchester United.

The late Gary Speed totalled 521 Premier League starts and Mark Schwarzer, now with champions Leicester City, will have hopes of adding to his current tally of 514.

One unfortunate consequence of Gareth’s longevity is that he also holds another Premier League record – for being shown the most yellow cards.

Gareth Barry tops the starters menu

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