He plays in one of the most vulnerable areas in the Everton team but Leighton Baines doesn't take his place for granted and he isn't overly concerned at no longer being an England international.
10 years after joining the Blues from Wigan Athletic in a £6m deal, the 32-year-old is the only senior left back on the club's books, making him one of the most important players in Ronald Koeman's side.
The Dutchman made signing a left-sided defender to cover Baines's position and that of Ramiro Funes Mori a priority for the end of the transfer window but, ultimately, he was unable to bolster the squad further before the deadline.
That makes Baines's continued fitness an important factor in Everton's hopes for the season and his lack of international commitments something of a relief.
“Honestly, I am happy with the way things are set up now,” Baines said on evertonfc.com with regard to the fact that he is no longer being considered by England, having represented his country in both the World Cup and European Championships in the past, “and that I can give everything to this football club.<
“Honestly, I am happy with the way things are set up now — and that I can give everything to this football club.
“Whatever is left in me to give, I am more than happy to give it to Everton.
“Ultimately, decisions [affecting your future] are made by other people. They will probably let you know when you are not required. You keep giving yourself the best chance, look after yourself… and just relax about it.
“It's only nature, people are going to get older and it comes to everyone. You have to enjoy it while you can.”
A decade at Goodison Park hasn't yielded any silverware but Baines has no regrets and instead takes a pragmatic view of what constitutes relative success.
“While I am playing, I tend not to stop and dwell on any achievements for too long,” he acknowledges.
“But it depends where you are coming from. I was a kid on the street playing football, so in that respect, every day is a success.
“I watch my son play football on Buckley Hill and at Walton Hall Park. They are the places I grew up playing, the same fields, hundreds of kids with all their hopes and dreams. So, when you look at it that way, I was one of those kids… and I ended up here.
“If you take a moment to look at it like that, it is pretty special.”
Full interview: evertonfc.com
Reader Comments (46)
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1 Posted 06/09/2017 at 19:00:52
2 Posted 06/09/2017 at 19:11:18
3 Posted 06/09/2017 at 19:15:44
Quality, what quality?
4 Posted 06/09/2017 at 19:23:51
5 Posted 06/09/2017 at 19:24:02
Koeman is a hands-off type manager when it comes to transfers, he said that when he came in! So why people give him all the flak for not bringing in needed players, I have no idea...
6 Posted 06/09/2017 at 19:25:37
7 Posted 06/09/2017 at 19:27:29
Is he being asked to play in every game we have though?
8 Posted 06/09/2017 at 19:30:45
9 Posted 06/09/2017 at 19:35:09
10 Posted 06/09/2017 at 19:35:50
11 Posted 06/09/2017 at 19:45:33
12 Posted 06/09/2017 at 19:49:03
13 Posted 06/09/2017 at 19:50:55
14 Posted 06/09/2017 at 19:51:31
15 Posted 06/09/2017 at 20:17:28
16 Posted 06/09/2017 at 20:19:16
17 Posted 06/09/2017 at 20:21:38
18 Posted 06/09/2017 at 21:12:41
That's just two British left-backs off the top of my head – we have the entire globe to scout a fucking left-back!
Key positions in our squad were neglected in favour of an overkill of central midfielders.
19 Posted 06/09/2017 at 21:17:36
Well worth his place in the starting 11 but he could do with a specialist in front of him!
20 Posted 06/09/2017 at 21:31:45
That's what Wayne said.
21 Posted 06/09/2017 at 21:45:53
Defensively he is still sound, but offensively the man who would bomb up the wing looking to cut inside, or run a loop around Pienaar is long gone.
A credit to himself and his profession, Baines is a manager's dream and an antidote to the stereotypical Premier League footballer.
22 Posted 06/09/2017 at 21:57:09
Good to see Seamus with the Irish squad this week and hopefully he will be back soon to solve that right-back situation especially for the offence that he gives.
Hopefully Mirallas will also knuckle down to play a decent role until January at least.
23 Posted 06/09/2017 at 21:57:51
24 Posted 06/09/2017 at 22:04:38
He can't be so bad that we can't possibly consider him for the squad under any circumstances, and he's actually very good going forward as a left back. This would make him at least a good rotation option for home games against weaker sides, but he isn't even registered to play in either the Premier League or Europa League.
This makes no sense whatsoever, does it?
25 Posted 06/09/2017 at 22:11:13
I actually think, he's declining rapidly defensively. Sure he never has any cover but perhaps playing wing back exposes him too much.
One on one he looks weak and slow. If we could find a reliable player he trusts in front of him, I think he still has passing range & the speed of thought to be a good going forward.
Great player, true to Everton, even under heavy speculation re Man Utd. Deserves a trophy more than most.
26 Posted 06/09/2017 at 22:18:37
27 Posted 06/09/2017 at 22:23:42
As I read it, Barkley is included in our Europa League squad. I'll wish for him to improve his value, if he's not going to stay!
Ideally I'd love for him to knuckle down and act like a man still in need of some instructions to actually become the real deal his agent thinks he's been for a very long time... We fans only saw that like 1 in 4/5, though...
28 Posted 06/09/2017 at 22:23:57
29 Posted 06/09/2017 at 23:48:22
Him and Pienaar looked great down the left, in fact we haven't found a left mid since he left us. As for cover we should have kept Galloway as he can play left-back or centre-back.
30 Posted 06/09/2017 at 00:07:56
I'd say if anyone in our squad is a diamond it's Leighton Baines. He could have cut and run and followed the money trail to Utd but showed true loyalty to Everton and by doing so, possibly cost himself more England caps too.
Leighton had the balls to speak up about the situation in the dressing room under Martinez and was castigated by BBS for doing so while motormouth Lukaku was allowed to shoot off about wanting away, champions league etc. Who deserved the talking to? Not Baines for sure.
Give eleven players with his sense of pride and loyalty to the club any day as opposed to so many modern mercenaries who couldn't give a toss about Everton or what we stand for. Top man, top player, a real diamond, not a fake one!
31 Posted 07/09/2017 at 08:41:59
Will surely end up as a club ambassador or coach in some capacity.
32 Posted 07/09/2017 at 09:02:28
Because he was one of our lads I did spend a fair amount of time following his game and may have been a little biased and I'm unsure how his game has progressed or otherwise since then. Surely must be a case for consideration though.
Interestingly Moussa Dembele was also playing for Fulham and made no impression on me whatsoever in that game.
34 Posted 07/09/2017 at 10:21:47
35 Posted 07/09/2017 at 13:16:14
36 Posted 07/09/2017 at 13:59:17
Or not getting caught out of position and pointing to team mates telling them where the danger is? Is that what you mean, Leighton?
37 Posted 07/09/2017 at 14:14:36
Didn't Stubbs suggest that he wanted to talk to United when Moyes came sniffing?
He's a very good player. Seems happy at home with his family and he's rewarded very well financially for being a consistent performer.
I don't think that makes him loyal but I still like him. No shite out of him. Like our Seamus.
38 Posted 07/09/2017 at 14:21:38
He wanted to go to Man Utd... but unlike Fellaini, he respected the fact we were desperate to keep hold of him, so he didn't hand in a transfer request and force his way out.
Fellaini spoke very highly of us when he left and I don't hold a grudge against him, though.
39 Posted 07/09/2017 at 14:58:53
No doubt any long passes, quick over-the-top deliveries coming from our left sided defensive area will be Pickford's domain, as well as free kicks, set pieces, corners etc, probably between Rooney and Gylfi. He'll probably be left to defend and told to use the spaces to get forward, rather than bombing on down the flanks.
He has created and scored in competetive matches already this season and the way he played Walker at Man City showed he's still class .
Interestingly, the most troubled I've seen him this season was in the first 10 mins at home to Hajduk Split and that was by Vlasic, before they doubled up pushing him inside.
40 Posted 07/09/2017 at 15:53:38
But,"he is loyal".
41 Posted 07/09/2017 at 16:02:27
42 Posted 07/09/2017 at 16:14:10
43 Posted 07/09/2017 at 17:28:46
44 Posted 07/09/2017 at 17:39:11
Pity but such is ageing...
Really like the fella though.
45 Posted 08/09/2017 at 04:44:49
His play with Pienaar in particular and, to a lesser extent, Ossie was as close as we have come to re-opening the School of Science in decades.
For a reason I still cannot fathom, a section of our fan base turned on people like Reidy and The Rat when their powers started to fade; I hope the comments on this thread are not an indication of things to come.
Memories of goals against Man City at the Etihad, the dramatic last minute equaliser which helped us knock Chelsea out at Stamford Bridge, and the unforgettable double strike at Upton Park... Fuck, you could be here all day.
I don't care if he is past his best (of course I wish he wasn't) I don't care that he cant jump. I don't give a flying fuck what Stubbsy said. This guy has been the best footballer our club has had in a decade.
Due to fuckwittery of others, Baines will have to haul his 32-year-old arse up and down the line more often than is reasonable to expect in this league.
He will do it to the best of his ability. With dignity and with no small amount of skill. He is surely entitled to expect the total support and respect of every Blue... He's spent the last decade earning it.
46 Posted 08/09/2017 at 11:15:25
47 Posted 08/09/2017 at 11:53:27
If Baines had a young Pienaar ahead of him, I believe he would still be able to function like he did. Baines was a quick player and he has lost some of that pace, but he's not slow and he can still show a good turn of pace at times.
What is gone from his game is the ability to run all game long, up and down the wing. And yes, often you will see him jog back when there is a dangerous moment and the opposition are in his zone. If Baines cannot get back to do anything about it, why should he sprint back to recover his position after the damage has been done and the cross / pass / shot has been executed? It makes sense to conserve his energy and to utilise it correctly.
It is part of the tactics of the team for Baines to get forward, and so it is for the manager to work out how to defend when an attack breaks down. Even if Baines was young and still had the lung-power, sprinting back would only be for effect and of no real value. Even Usain Bolt would struggle to recover 50 yards on someone. This is why Schneiderlin covers the left side of the pitch and it is his job to cover Baines when Baines goes forwards.
He is still one of our best players. He still has a sweet left foot. He still plays excellent passes. He still gets forward and provides much needed width. He still gives 100%.
A true blue and one to be long remembered.
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