Date: 21st October 2008 at 5:41pm
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Martin O’Neill has responded to Barry’s comments about being played at left back, but he’s certainly not playing them up.

As covered earlier on the site, Barry wasn’t too happy at being played at left back against Pompey and said a few words about it to the press afterwards.

But O’Neill seems in no mood to play about in the press this week given what went on at Pompey, so replied simply to Gareth:

‘You’ll play where I tell you.’

Speaking to the Express and Star, O’Neill went further and made it an instruction to all the players, not just Gareth,

‘At the end of the day I pick the side. Players are paid to play in whatever position I put them in. The explanation I give them should be good enough. If Gareth accepted that explanation, then that is good enough for him.

‘I have nothing to say about his comments, because I don’t know how they were said. So I take no notice of it all. What I will say is that Gareth Barry has played left-back before.

‘I can’t remember the last time he actually started at left-back. Gareth has made his name in recent times by me playing him in midfield but he has played left-back for every other manager at some stage and has played often there.

‘When we put him into a settled position in midfield, and he played regularly there, that’s when he came to the attention of England. At the end of the day, I would expect players to play in any position I give them.

‘Carlos Cuellar did that. Everybody can be asked to play in a position and if I think it is good for the team, that’s what I’ll do.’

The reasoning for the full back change, seemed to be a reminder to Shorey and Luke Young that their places are in no way guaranteed.

‘Like anything else anyone can improve their game. This is not a problem. Last weekend was just a chance for them to look at things again.’

I would imagine this is just the press trying to cause problems again. I can fully imagine after the match somebody pointedly asking Barry if he prefered being in the middle of midfield compared to left back and he answered he did, and rambled about not liking it when players run at him.

Hey presto, Barry upset with O’Neill for playing him in a position he didn’t like.

Makes for a great story doesn’t it.