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Barry hails Hornchurch hero Styles

PUBLISHED: 09:00 20 May 2017

Elliot Styles warms up before his testimonal at Hornchurch Stadium, as Chris Barry looks on (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Elliot Styles warms up before his testimonal at Hornchurch Stadium, as Chris Barry looks on (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Most dedicated player I know, says former Romford captain

Jack Barry and George Purcell compete for a header (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)Jack Barry and George Purcell compete for a header (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Former Romford captain Jack Barry claimed Hornchurch rival Elliot Styles is the ‘most dedicated’ of players after playing in his testimonial match.

Barry made 228 appearances in Boro’s gold and blue jersey, scoring 33 goals, before moving on to have spells with Thamesmead and Phoenix in the past two seasons.

And he was delighted to take part in the special occasion in honour of a long-time opponent and close friend.

“It was a pleasure to be a part of this special match for Elliot as he is the most dedicated non-league professional there is and a lot of people would agree,” said Barry.

“The week leading up to a match and then the day of the game he is always spot-on with his preparations.

“Every time we play against each other I always try and have a joke with him and ask him in the week what’s he eating for breakfast or lunch today just to try and get in his head a bit. However, it never works!

“As a friend, Elliot’s been top drawer over the many years I’ve known him through my brother. They are best mates and grew up through school together, but when me and Elliot are together we are always talking football and seeing how each other are getting on.”

Jack and Chris Barry were able to call Styles a team-mate for once as they joined him in his Boring United line-up on the big night.

And Barry said it seemed no different to any other match, until kick-off, adding: “Playing in the testimonial, it more or less felt like the build-up to a normal game, if I’m honest, until we actually started to play it!

“It felt like a pre-season game, but when you look at the names that played you knew it wasn’t going to be a fast tempo game as most of the lads haven’t played in a long while.

“It was good for Elliot to get all his close football mates back one more time to play in this special occasion.”

There were plenty of laughs on the night, but Barry said it is very different when the two face each other ‘for real’.

Styles was an unused sub in the 1-1 draw with Phoenix last September, but led his side to a 4-1 win in the return meeting in April.

Barry added: “Playing against him is just quality as we both have this competitive side to our game where we hate losing and especially when it’s against each other.

“It makes it a lot worse as you know the next day the phone will be buzzing, just getting a lot of stick but it’s all light-hearted banter.

“I’m not sure how much he has left in the old legs of his, but he has made history at the club which I know he will love.”

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