Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hailed Gareth Barry ahead of their match against West Brom on Monday.
The former England international made his 632nd Premier League appearance on Saturday – 600 of those starts – which meant he equalled Ryan Giggs’ record.
If he plays against the Gunners on Monday, as expected, then he will surpass the Manchester United legend and set a record of his own.
Wenger, who was linked with Barry on numerous occasions, admits he was interested in the midfielder and has congratulated him on an “exceptional achievement”.
“Outstanding achievement, he’s intelligent, determined, strong in the challenge,” Wenger told a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
“Good technically, I rated him highly. He was unlucky being in the period of Gerrard and Lampard. It’s an exceptional achievement.
“We were interested in him, yes, when he moved from Villa to City, but at the time City were the big investor, their finance was superior to ours. “