Meet Anthony Barry – ex-Accrington Stanley man who has to steer ship at Chelsea
Chelsea’s likely new caretaker manager is a 36-year-old Englishman whose playing career included stops at the likes of Accrington Stanley, Forest Green Rovers and Fleetwood Town.
Following the surprise sacking of Thomas Tuchel after their 1-0 Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday night, the reins at Stamford Bridge look set to be handed to Anthony Barry – on a temporary basis at least.
That is according to the Daily Telegraph, who report that the west Londoners have identified Brighton & Hove Albion boss Graham Potter as their number one target.
Until then, it looks set to fall to Barry to steer the Blues through choppy waters, but who is the former midfielder tasked with setting Chelsea straight? Daily Star Sport finds out.
Who do you think Chelsea should appoint as their next permanent manager? Let us know in the comments section below.
What is Anthony Barry’s role at Chelsea?
After a playing career spent in the lower reaches of English football, Barry joined Chelsea as a coach in the summer of 2020 while Frank Lampard was still in charge at Stamford Bridge, having impressed him when they were on a coaching course together.
He arrived with a growing reputation as a set-piece specialist and immediately made a swift impression on colleagues and players alike. Barry was retained by Tuchel when he replaced Lampard in January 2021 and combines his job at Chelsea with a role working under Robert Martinez with the Belgian national team.
Barry currently holds the title of “assistant coach” on the Chelsea’s website. In an interview, Barry spoke about how he came to be known as a set-piece specialist coach.
He said: “I started to look into all different ways and eventually came to set-pieces – can we use free-kicks or throw-ins? – that’s where I landed at throw-ins and started to study them in more detail. Liverpool had just employed a throw-in coach that I’d read about and I just really wanted to know if they were that important or not.
“We analysed a full season in the Premier League and looked at 17,000 throw-ins in total. Some of the findings were really game-changing towards football in terms of how important throw-ins actually are. There is on average one throw-in every two minutes in a game and if you average 45 anythings in a game then they have to have an impact.”
Who did Anthony Barry play for?
Despite starting at Everton, Barry spent his entire playing career in the lower leagues. After leaving Goodison Park in 2004, he joined Coventry City, where he was a regular in the reserves.
However, he couldn’t break into the first-team at the Sky Blues and joined Accrington Stanley – then of the National League – in 2005. He was an ever-present during the first half of the campaign, making 26 appearances as the Lancashire side returned to the Football League for the first time in 44 years.
That earned him a move to League One side Yeovil, where he made 69 appearances in two-and-a-half seasons. He then dropped back down to League Two with Chester City before returning to the National League with Wrexham and Forest Green Rovers.
Another brief spell at Accrington followed before Barry returned to Wrexham for the 2016-17 season. He made 32 more appearances for the Red Dragons but hung up his boots at the age of 30 to pursue a career in coaching.
What does Anthony Barry need to do?
With Chelsea reportedly in talks with Potter and Mauricio Pochettino, Barry might not have to deal with stresses of being the club’s temporary manager for long. But he’ll likely be in charge for long enough to oversee their west London derby against Fulham at the weekend.
The 36-year-old has several big decision to make ahead of Saturday’s match, including whether to stick with the defensive pairing of Kalidou Koulibaly and Wesley Fofana, midfielder Mason Mount and new boy Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Koulibaly has had a torrid start to his Blues career, getting sent off against Leeds United in August and selling himself down the river against Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday night. He and £75million man Fofana certainly didn’t inspire confidence in Chelsea’s defence, and Barry could react by bringing in Trevoh Chalobah.
Mount has also come in for criticism of late having failed to register a goal or assist in any game this season. It was quite obvious on Tuesday night that the pairing with Matteo Kovacic didn’t work, so Barry could opt to change that as well.
Then there’s the small matter of Aubameyang up-front. Although the former Arsenal man could quite easily have opened his account against Zagreb, he is very much Tuchel’s man.
Barry could be tempted to shake up his misfiring forward line, with Armando Broja potentially in the frame for his first Chelsea start after coming off the bench five times already this term.
And on top of all of that, he also has the unenvious job of trying to corral together a group of players no doubt left shocked by the surprise sacking of their Champions League-winning manager. Can he manage it? We’ll find out on Saturday.