Skip to Main Content
Members:   Log In Sign Up
Text:  A  A  A
The Mail Bag

Mystery of Leighton Baines

Comments (36)

It looks like our undisputed best player, Joleon Lescott, is beginning to throw his toys out of the pram over Moyes`repeated insistence on his playing at left-back. The singular failure of £6M signing Leighton Baines to claim and hold the position for which he was recruited remains a mystery to most Evertonians.

The manager has wavered between claiming Jagielka has been too good to drop and laying the blame on Baines size.`He`s one for the future,` he`s more recently claimed but few of us expect the ex-Wigan man to grow much, do we?

Given results over the last two months, the continued exclusion of a specialist and attacking full-back has done little to support the manager`s reasoning but is this another sign of Davey`s dithering ? or have we another Per Krøldrup in the ranks?
Nick  Ward, Orrell     Posted 09/05/2008 at 13:18:55

back Return to the Mail Bag


Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Ric Wallace
1   Posted 09/05/2008 at 15:24:06

Report abuse

I think we should lay off Baines.
Remember how a player can just have a really bad season with injuries?
We’ve had the likes of Arteta, Cahill, Vaughan, AJ who have struggled with injuries during certain seasons.
Yet no one has doubted their quality?

Baines has been unlucky on two fronts:
1) Injured when he arrived
2) Lescott has been phenomenal at LB.

At least give him a full season in the Prem to prove his doubters wrong. The boy was in the u21 side consistently and has had numerous admirers for his obvious talent.

Roberto Carlos didn’t really suffer being small at LB did he? I think not.

Graham Holliday
2   Posted 09/05/2008 at 15:27:14

Report abuse

Moyes’ comments about the size issue were not related to Baines but the rest of the team being lightweight. As such, he’s used Lescott along with two other centre backs to bulk up the team a bit.

Expect one or two of our signings this summer (especially in the midfield) to be 6 foot+, and Baines to play significantly more next season.

At least, I think so...
Mark Hill
3   Posted 09/05/2008 at 15:42:00

Report abuse

I think Baines will prove to be a good player, he has been injured never available consistently with foot injuries and the like. I think as well given a decent run in the side he will prove a valuable asset!
Michael Hunt
4   Posted 09/05/2008 at 15:47:22

Report abuse

What short memories some have. Baines earned numerous rave reviews early this season before serious injury curtailed his progress.
I’m confident those doubting he will prove to be a big success at Everton wil have egg on their faces some the end of next season.
Mike Oates
5   Posted 09/05/2008 at 15:46:47

Report abuse

Graham Holliday is right and Moyes actually referred to this a few weeks ago. Baines is out because Everton as a team lack height if he doesnt play Jags,Yobo and Lescott.
Having to play Osman,Pinnear and Arteta and with Johnson and Yakubu being useless in the arial department then Baines has been the one to be left out.

Moyes must be desperate to sign a couple of 6 footers for midfield to allow Baines to come in and use his pace down the LHS.
As well as lack of height we totally lack pace , bring on Baines and Vaughan next season
John Jones
6   Posted 09/05/2008 at 15:56:51

Report abuse

Short memories...Baines was our best player for the opening period of the season, since then he’s struggled with injuries and hasn’t managed to break back into the team due to Jagielka’s form.
Tony Waring
7   Posted 09/05/2008 at 15:55:45

Report abuse

Yes, I too think that Lescott?s best position is at centre half. He?s better than Jags, who is a 100% willing player but with shortcomings, notably distribution, and Baines is a classy left back albeit on the small side, but as someone else said Roberto Carlos wasn?t exactly of King Kong proportions.
Mark Griffiths (not the usual one!)
8   Posted 09/05/2008 at 16:10:43

Report abuse

Baines has an injury where if he kicks the ball hard he feels pain. With our history of playing promising left backs through injurys & almost ruining them, I for one am glad Moyes & his staff want to sort his injury out before giving him too much game time.
He’s pretty much nailed on to be 1st choice LB from next season.
Connor Rohrer
9   Posted 09/05/2008 at 16:45:13

Report abuse

Baines is for now and the future. I’ve seen enough of him to make my mind up that his is going to be a quality fullback and possibly England future.

His problem has been injuries and a general lack of stature in the team as a whole. We are a small team and at set pieces it affects us as players like Osman, Baines and Pienaar who would usually be on the posts or outside the box are trying to mark 6ft plus opponents. Thats why Moyes has gone with Lescott at left back and Yobo and Jags centrally. Its not negative its just very needed. More or less every team in the Prem are physically bigger than us.

Moyes likes to play with three big defenders so there is alot of height at the back which means he’ll probably go out and buy a right back with height and aerial ability. Only then will Baines take over.

I really hope he does. Its always nice to have a local lad in the team.
John Fowles
10   Posted 09/05/2008 at 17:01:42

Report abuse

Baines should be in the starting eleven now. Moyes will have to decide on who to drop out of Yobo or Jags, but that’s where he earns his money. Hope Baines gets more of a chance next year in terms of injuries and DM’s attitude towards him. Good options on the left, shame we cant’ say the same for the right. But as long as Neville’s there, he won’t be in midfield thank God!!
Keith Glazzard
11   Posted 09/05/2008 at 17:31:52

Report abuse

Our squad has proved to be a player or two less than we needed to keep up the performances towards the end of a good, and therefore longer season. I think it?s a shame that we haven?t seen Baines brought in during this phase. Fully fit, he is able and very quick. With Tim out and Mikel struggling, either Leighton or Joleon could have been moved into midfield. We have had more options than DM has used.
Simar Singh
12   Posted 09/05/2008 at 18:35:54

Report abuse

I said previously that I couldn't understand Baines not playing, I know he has been injury-prone but he is a good footballer and how can it be said he is ?one for the future? when he was captain of Wigan last season?!!! I just can't understand why we chased him, paid £6 milllion for him and he just sits on the bench!!

I also think its funny that no one mentions Ashley Cole's height! I don't know whether anyone agrees but we have offered Nuno Valente a new contract... is that an ominous sign for Baines?

Jason Williams
13   Posted 09/05/2008 at 18:54:43

Report abuse

Valente getting a new contract is just as cover-we will have Baines,Valente and of course Lescott available for LB next season. Valente should be 3rd choice and I presume used if Baines is injured?!
Connor Rohrer
14   Posted 09/05/2008 at 18:54:37

Report abuse

Chelsea have height across the park. Drogba, Essien, Mikel, Ballack, Terry, Cavalho etc are all big blokes so Cole?s height isn?t really a problem.

Baines?s height is a problem at the moment. We have a very small team and it hurts us against bigger teams as Villa proved with Carew, Mellberg, Knight, Laursen etc.

If we buy a big right and and a big centre midfielder in the summer then I?d expect Baines to start regularly.

His price means nothing. Having a £5 million defender only really shows that we have a better team than last season.
Adam Doyle
15   Posted 09/05/2008 at 19:05:12

Report abuse

Baines surely is nowhere near match fit, so when I see him being brought on in the 92nd minute, I get annoyed.
John Andrews
16   Posted 09/05/2008 at 19:06:45

Report abuse

Jagielka too good to drop? Don?t make me laugh! First person to hoof the ball upfield to our diminuitive strike force.
If I had my way he would be no more than a squad player.
Jay Harris
17   Posted 09/05/2008 at 19:18:52

Report abuse

Baines is at least as good in the air as Hibbo or Neville so cant understand why we don't play peanuts RM Manny Cars and Ossie CM and Baines LM with Yak up front linking with Ossie and Peanuts given our current injury and tiredness problems.

Connor Rohrer
18   Posted 09/05/2008 at 19:26:58

Report abuse

jayharris, I don’t think Moyes fancies Baines as a left midfielder. I thought he did a decent job there against Spurs personally and would give hiim a go but I just don’t think Moyes sees him there.

Its also the fact that Pienaar is far better on the left than he is on the right. He likes to come inside and cut onto his better foot and link play whereas on the right he can’t really do that. On the right he’s expected to hit the byline and cross which aren’t his strengths.

If it was up to me though I would give the Pienaar, Osman, Carsley, Fernandes and Baines combination a go. Its a positive outlook and certainly better than the Nev-Carsley combo.

Baines could give us some pace and energy outwide which has been lacking of late.
Chris Fowler
19   Posted 09/05/2008 at 19:24:09

Report abuse

I can’t believe that height is the issue. Since when have full backs ever needed to be tall? Ashley Cole, Gary Neville - these guys aren’t that tall. Also, if height is an issue why has 5’11" Phil Jagielka been playing at centre back?

I think Baines has just been the unfortunate victim of circumstance this season, first with injuries and then with the form of Jagielka meaning that Lescott has been pushed out left. I fully expect Baines to play left back next season with Jagielka, Lescott and Yobo sharing the CB duties between each other.

One further point, and I know this is going to be controversial: why don’t we try and push Jagielka into the defensive CM role? I know he played there at the start of the season and was poor, but he had only just come into the team and was still finding his feet. Perhaps with his new found confidence he could adapt to this role and be the answer to the Carsley / Neville problem? After all, he did play this position often for Sheffield Utd?
Thomas Surgenor
20   Posted 09/05/2008 at 19:35:51

Report abuse

Baines is top class! And will be for years to come. He has just been very unlucky with injuries this season and the form of Lescott at left back.

For me, Baines was the most exciting signing we made last summer. I couldn?t believe it when we got him.

Here's another thing, is Gareth Bale a bad player? What's he done this season due to injuries??
Connor Rohrer
21   Posted 09/05/2008 at 19:48:46

Report abuse

Chris Fowler, of course height is a problem. Moyes wouldn’t have mentioned it if that wasn’t the case. Its not the fact that we don’t have tall fullbacks is the fact that as a whole our team is small. We need more height in general if we want to accomadate Baines. If we don’t get that height and replace him with Yobo or Jags our team is even smaller.

Jagielka plays centre half because he is good in the air. He may be average height for a centre half but he has an excellent leap ala Cahill or Vaughan. He’s perfectly capable of challenging strikers with height.

And no he is not the answer at defensive midfielder. He has the defensive qualities yes and a very good engine but he lacks the quality on the ball. He just isn’t a midfielder. Neville’s better than him there and thats saying something.

He’s a very good centre half and he should be kept there.
Kevin Egan
22   Posted 09/05/2008 at 20:03:38

Report abuse

Totally agree with John Andrews, I?m one of these fans that is not convinced by Jagielka whatsoever. He?s made crucial errors at times (Arsenal) and always looks likes he?s on the verge of being caught out by pace or one of his own errors.

9 times out of ten Jagielka hoofs the ball out - I?d have him on the bench and play Lescott/Yoba with Baines/Neville at full backs. Jagielka just doesn?t do it for me, we need to get rid of this no-nonsene / limited skill type of squad player and replace with proven quality.
Ray Robinson
23   Posted 09/05/2008 at 20:05:19

Report abuse

Nick, in what way is Lescott beginning to throw his toys out of the pram? I read the Echo tonight and his sentiments are extremely measured and reasonable.

And I do belive that Baines has been kept out this season largely because of his size. A few seasons ago with Kilbane, Ferguson etc in the side, we were a quite a tall side. Baines may play a bigger part next season if we get some taller players in.
Paul OHanlon
24   Posted 09/05/2008 at 20:57:15

Report abuse

Once Moyes addresses the height issue in midfield I believe not only will Baines be our first choice left back next season, but for many years to come. He’s class, and I only wish we had a right back like him!
John Lloyd
25   Posted 09/05/2008 at 21:23:33

Report abuse

2 reasons he hasnt been playing as much as we would of liked & both of these are stone cold facts stated in recent months & weeks by the manager himself:-

a) Leighton is still carrying an achilles foot problem that he feels when he kicks the ball with any great force. This will be addressed by surgery in the close season.

b) DM is very, very aware of the lack of physical players & height in the team & doesnt wanna be muscled at set pieces attacking & defending.

With a couple of clever additions & Baines surgery you will see that he will be our starting left back next season I am sure.
Jay Harris
26   Posted 09/05/2008 at 21:29:39

Report abuse

I tend to agree with John Lloyd re Baines injury problems but for me he has looked the freshest player on the park when he has played.

As regards Jags in MF NO NO NO a million No?s.

He is a good man marker and good when you need somebody in the trenches for that do or die moment and thats it.
His distribution is worse than Neville, Carsley or Hibbo and he does tend to panic more than most.
For me at best a squad player for certain games just like Hibbo.
Karl Masters
27   Posted 09/05/2008 at 23:26:46

Report abuse

With Jags, Yobo & Lescott all having done well this season, why not play Jags at right back with Yobo & Lescott central and Baines left back next season?

Jags is quicker than Hibbert or Neville and his distribution is no worse than those two.

Just a thought.

Maybe Moyesie will give Gosling a go at right back on Sunday if we get a couple of goals ahead?
Ron Joynson
28   Posted 09/05/2008 at 23:53:31

Report abuse

Too small?

Leighton Baines is about the same height as Ray Wilson, the best fullback ever to play for the Club.

Too small - my arse
Nick Xenos
29   Posted 10/05/2008 at 02:01:31

Report abuse

Most top class wing-backs these days are very small in stature, i.e Lahm, Evra, Clichy. The modern wing-back needs to be mobile and agile. Lescott has done a solid job at left back, exceptional in fact for a man of his size, but he is not a natural wing man. I’m sure if Baines gets a good pre-season in his legs, Moyes will employ him in our starting eleven.
Connor Rohrer
30   Posted 10/05/2008 at 02:10:22

Report abuse

I’m suprised people haven’t clocked on yet to what people are actually saying.

Its not because Baines is too small its the fact that the team as a whole is too small. We need Lescott, Jagielka and Yobo at the back to give us aerial presence so Baines must suffer.

If Lescott was right footed and could play right back then its more than likely Hibbert or Neville would get dropped and Baines would be playing at left back.

Once we get bigger players in the team Baines will make the left back positon his own. Its all about getting the right balance. At the moment that balance is Jags, Yobo and Lescott.
Nick Xenos
31   Posted 10/05/2008 at 02:10:21

Report abuse

Karl, we need players who specialize in the one position if we are to break into the top 4. Its all good having a couple of utility players in case injuries hamper the squad, but starting the season off with Jags at right back is not the answer. Depending on how young Gosling is coming along, Moyes may need to invest in a good right wing-back, as Neville and Hibbert have shown that they are average at best in that/any position.
Derek Thomas
32   Posted 10/05/2008 at 08:10:33

Report abuse

Short version on the height or not of fullbacks.... Two words. PARKER, WILSON.

IMO, the way to go is 3 big reasonably big and mobile ones at the back. With Baines and A N Other ? NOT Hibbert or Neville as a right-sided wingback

So to sum up: One right-sided wingback, plus two decent midfielders and a couple, in the Moyes mould, of try-before-you-buy squad members. £30-odd million if it?s done properly. But, with the Tescodome syphoning the money away from the REAL PRIORITY, it seems unlikely...
Steve Ryan
33   Posted 10/05/2008 at 10:16:17

Report abuse

Jagielka played in the right back position at Bolton and Derby this season. In both games he was excellent and was involved in the goals. Hopefully, next season we will see a back four of Jagielka, Yobo, Lescott and Baines.
Ray Robinson
34   Posted 10/05/2008 at 11:09:39

Report abuse


Height does matter! I remember Parker and Wilson. They belonged in an era when the average height of the male population was about 5’ 9" and you still had sub 6’ goalies like Hodgkinson and Hopkinson.

Afraid the world’s moved on and a good big ’un is better than a good little ’un.
Nick Xenos
35   Posted 10/05/2008 at 14:53:37

Report abuse

Steve, playing well against Bolton and Derby ain’t saying much now is it? With the backline you mentioned, 3 of the 4 would continually just lump the ball forward. Ok the two centre halves can be somewhat excused but if you look at the top sides, they have ’footballers’ all over the park, even in defence. Out of Hibbert, Neville, Jagielka, Yobo, Lescott, and Baines who would you say is comfortable on the ball and can consistantly pick out a pass?
Connor Rohrer
36   Posted 10/05/2008 at 17:11:34

Report abuse

Nick Xenos, Baines is comfortable on the ball. Technically he is a good fullback and certainly capable on the ball. Lescott is also decent on the ball but not natural. The others mentioned are not.

© ToffeeWeb

We use cookies to enhance your experience on ToffeeWeb and to enable certain features. By using the website you are consenting to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.