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Whither Leighton Baines?

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These days it`s a brave man who passes an opinion on this site which is contrary to` the club line` so I`ll content myself with posing a question. Whither Leighton Baines? Since his much hyped and very expensive move from Wigan, the little fellow has made only 10 Premier starts and is now regarded as the manager`s third choice left-back. True, he has been serially injured ? having been signed in such condition ? but we are coming into March and he is still a very peripheral figure.

My own view, for what it`s worth, is that Moyes slipped up with this one and already recognises the fact. Too small, too fragile and too easily by-passed is my suspicion...
Colin  Tunstall, Wirral     Posted 22/02/2008 at 08:52:18

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Dan Walker
1   Posted 22/02/2008 at 13:52:37

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I disagree. I think there’s nothing sinister going on at all.

Remember Baines injured his ankle in October by the big oaf Darren Moore? Well he had a couple of months out injured with that, only to come back and feel some discomfort that it "wasn’t quite right". There was the option to operate (requiring further time out of action) or wait and see if it settles down by itself over time. All this was mentioned on the main website by David Moyes.

So, my guess is that the injury still isn’t quite right and that they’re using him sparingly for now. Why have a half-fit Baines playing at left back when Jags is playing so well at centre-back that it allows Lescott to play left back? Then there’s the option of Valente as well (as we’ve been seeing in most European games and some league games recently).

Baines has bags of potential and I’ve no doubt he’ll make the left back spot his own, assuming he can get over these niggling injuries.
Ben Jackson
2   Posted 22/02/2008 at 14:04:45

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I disagree as well. I think before the end of the season he will have cemented himself in the left back position. He has the potential to be class and I have no doubts he’ll prove it. It wasn’t too long ago we were all scratching our heads at the money paid for jags, but look how that’s turned out. End of the day, he one of the brightest prospects at I can see him being as important for us as Clichy and Evra are for their respective clubs.
Sam Morrison
3   Posted 22/02/2008 at 14:15:20

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I think we?ll be seeing plenty of Baines in the future and he?s a very good player. I can remember a thread at the start of the season where people where raving about him to the point where some suggested playing him left-midfield.
Andy Hudson
4   Posted 22/02/2008 at 14:32:43

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Its not just his injury problems that have kept him out its the form of Jags, meaning Lescott has been moved to left back. That in itself helps when defending set pieces as we have quite a small squad. Nuno has been playing for this same reason in certain games too. Against Brann we knew they would be a danger from set pieces and Moyes planned accordingly. Baines will get his chance again and I agree with the others that he will become our 1st choice eventually. It just goes to show how good our squad depth is at the moment. Moyes can switch it round to suit the opposition, or select the most inform/fittest players. I’m sure Baines will be frustrated at how this season has gone for him, but that will make him even more determined to win his place back when he gets an opportunity
Mike Birtles
5   Posted 22/02/2008 at 14:05:36

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I remember when Naysmith came to the club, at the same time as Tal. They were going to "tranform" our left hand side.

Baines = Naysmith, given with more pace, but the same weaknesses.
Nick Entwistle
6   Posted 22/02/2008 at 14:51:44

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Is this from the same guy with the Carsley thread?
John Lloyd
7   Posted 22/02/2008 at 15:12:18

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Baines is currently carrying an injury which is troubling him when he is strikinhg the ball, he is pencilled in for surgery (not sure whether it exploratory or to repair any damage) in the close season. that is why he is not playing that much. He can still play but not to his full potential.

Once this issue is cleared up, I think, for what its worth that he will be our 1st choice left back and potential international for years to come.
Teddy Draper
8   Posted 22/02/2008 at 15:10:02

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F.F.S. What is the matter with some of you, we are all EVERTONIANS i think. The operative word is SQUAD, we need men to play, men to rest and so on, we just won in europe 6-1 and you are still sniping and having a go at someone. Baines IS quality and QUALITY will prevail, so COYB, LETS SHOW A LOT OF UNITY to the squad, the moysiah, and the grand old team we love.
David Nicholls
9   Posted 22/02/2008 at 15:18:31

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Sorry Colin, I completely disagree. I think once he gets over his injuries Leighton will become our first choice left back for the next decade.

Moyes has always been fair in that if someone is performing well he won’t drop them as soon as his original 1st choice comes back from injury. Valente’s been solid this year but can’t have too many years left and although lescott has been excellent when called upon, he is, first and foremost a centreback.

Baines excites me because of his ability to get forward and overlap the left midfielder, something we havent seen much of at Goodison over the years. He was arguably our best player early on in the campaign and has shown good leadership qualities like when he gave the Yak a roasting for not tracking back.

I know he’s not been on the scoresheet for us yet but I’ve seen him score a couple of scorchers for Wigan and the U21’s so hopefully it won’t be long.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he’s a future fans favourite. Definitely! A future Everton captain? Maybe.
Chris James
10   Posted 22/02/2008 at 16:39:25

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So let me get this straight then...we spend the whole of the first half of the season complaining that we don’t have enough players, whinge about the fact we don’t sign enough in January and then when we actually have some strength in depth and are rotating players, the ones that aren’t playing are suddenly finished/rubbish.
Leaving the conjecture for a moment to look at the facts...
...Baines has made 14 starts + 6 as substitute (slightly more than Valente) in his first season and has been kept from further games by a combination of injury, form of other defenders (most notably Jags, Joleon and Valente himself) and sensible squad management by Moyes.
Most times I’ve seen him play he’s looked first class, comfortable on the ball, good turn of pace and some nice crosses, a very attack-minded defender. Valente is rotated routinely (often in European matches to use his experience) so when this coincides with Jags, Yobo or Joleon dip in form/get a knock/need a rest OR when we need a real injection of pace on that flank, he’ll get his chance again.
I’d say Moyes is managing the situation rather well all told, maybe Rafael across the park could learn a thing or two (i.e. you don’t have to pick your team with a bingo machine).
Paul Hennessey
11   Posted 22/02/2008 at 17:34:52

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Baines is the best left back at the club, he has pace, tackles well and gets forward - he has just had an injury-hit year (Lescott had one of those a few years back and look at him now), previously his appearence record was very good indeed for Wigan.
Steve Guy
12   Posted 22/02/2008 at 17:50:52

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Is this the same Baines who has had any number of wingers (Ronaldo stands out) in his pocket ?

I’ve seen enough to suggest that when fit he will be banging the door down for the left back berth.
Eddy Bundell
13   Posted 22/02/2008 at 18:04:19

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I thought the England manager mentioned him (together with Osman) in his 6-player list not too long ago that he would monitor them closely.
Paul Walsh
14   Posted 22/02/2008 at 17:57:55

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It’s obvious that injuries have prevented Baines from getting his Everton career off to the start he would have hoped for but his performance at home against Man. United where he totaly nullified the threat posed by Ronaldo showed me he is indeed a class act.Indeed I would suggest only Bridge and Ashley Cole of Chelsea are superior to him when all are fit and available.Certainly he has the edge on Shorey of Reading for example.I think the author of the thread is being a little bit hasty in judging Baines right now
Kieran Kinsella
15   Posted 22/02/2008 at 18:32:10

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We’re really struggling to find negatives if we are ready to call time on Baines brief and injury interupted Everton career.
With regard to the England thing though how come Capello can be found at every Liverpool game but never at Everton games. Liverpool have only one eligible Englishman in their starting line up if you don’t count the traitor Carragher. We have several.
Mark Pendleton
16   Posted 22/02/2008 at 19:21:29

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I agree that Leighton will make the left back position his own in time. I think Moyes has stuck with Nuno who played VERY well since getting back in the side. He is loyal is Moyesey. He’s only played Lescott at left back tactically i think while he’s had other options.
Vijay Nair
17   Posted 23/02/2008 at 01:38:35

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Agree entirely with Steve Guy... Baines had Ronaldo in his pocket when we played United, We should wait until he’s fighting fit to pass comments on the lad.

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