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Baines ? On the International Scrap Heap?

By Dick Anderson :  09/08/2010 :  Comments (30) :
Despite the slow start to his Everton career, Leighton Baines has grown into the role of Everton's first choice Left Back. At his best, Baines is quick, defensively sound, and has an attack-minded cultured left peg which chips in with assists throughout the season.

As Baines established himself, we Evertonians began to suggest he was deserving of an England call-up. For a long time, it looked like such a thing was unlikely. Then an opportunity was handed to Baines in the form of Vanessa Perroncel. A combination of the French model and John Terry?s overactive sex drive forced England?s second left-back Wayne Bridges into International retirement.

All of a sudden, there was a space available in the squad and most probably a seat to the World Cup. Nicky Shorey, Liam Ridgewell, Stephen Warnock and even Phil Neville were debated by the press but it was Baines who emerged as the favourite to fill the gap. It was Warnock and Baines who were called-up by Capello and it was Baines who was given the first chance to impress when handed his England debut against Egypt. Many expected Baines and Warnock to have half a match each but it was Baines who played the full 90 minutes and looked solid if unspectacular in the 3-1 win.

A couple of months later, England were playing their final friendlies before the World Cup and again Baines was selected for the squad. Baines played another full 90 minutes against Mexico while Warnock again looked on from the bench. It wasn?t a great performance by Baines but he had played two 90-minute games while Warnock had just sat on the bench. Baines looked to have booked his place on the plane and was all set to be Ashley Cole?s World Cup back-up.

Then Baines baffled nearly everyone by giving an interview in which he expressed concerns about possibly being homesick if selected for the World Cup. Maybe it was just naivety on the part of Baines but Capello obviously took notice and decided that even though Warnock hadn?t been involved in the friendlies he would be the safer option for the World Cup. Baines was left out of the World Cup squad but placed on standby in case anything happed to Cole or Warnock. Nothing did happen and Baines spent the summer watching the World Cup on television just like the rest of us.

Anyway, in the aftermath of England?s disappointing World Cup performances, many fans believed Capello would change personnel and maybe Baines would find himself back in favour for the friendly against Hungary later this week. The squad was announced and as usual Ashley Cole retained his position but Stephen Warnock was omitted, leaving a space for a new left-back. But, despite being the back-up for the World Cup, Baines was not given that space. Instead, it went to Arsenal?s Kieran Gibbs.

Last season, Gibbs played three times in the Premier League, twice in the European Cup and twice in the League Cup. That?s seven games in total but that was enough to convince Capello that he was a better option then Baines who played 39 times for Everton last season.

Where Baines stands in the England running now is anybody's guess. Gibbs is only 21 years old but, if he can't win a place in the Arsenal team, how can Capello continue to pick him? Even if Gibbs fails to hold on to the place, it's likely that next in line would be Stephen Warnock.

Is there a way back for Leighton Baines? One bad interview appears to have placed Baines on the International scrap heap at the age of 25.

Evertonians will tell you that Baines is a very good player. The main problem is that he?s a quiet family-orientated man who needs time to build confidence. He suffered in the early part of his Everton career with confidence but, once gained, he never looked back and is now one of Everton?s most consistent performers.

Will Baines be given another chance at International level? Will Capello give him the time to gain confidence and find his place in the squad? Does family man / homebody Leighton Baines even want another chance?

Reader Comments

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Jimmy Hacking
1   Posted 09/08/2010 at 14:53:18

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Baines is clearly a very fine player for Everton, but I've never believed he quite has what it takes to be an England regular. at best he'll end up winning another 2 or three caps over the next couple of years, before drifting out of contention. Well, that's my opinion, I hope I am wrong.
Chris Fisher
2   Posted 09/08/2010 at 15:03:50

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I couldnt care less as long as he keeps playing the way he does for us. England is just an unneccesary distraction, and with players like Terry, Gerrard, Lampard and Cole in the team I really can't bring myself to back them.
Fran Mitchell
3   Posted 09/08/2010 at 15:11:12

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Well he aint as good as Cole, and Gibbs is going to be the future left back, so might as well get him experience now.

Baines is good, and i'm quite happy to have him training with the Everton squad rather than training with England to get the odd novelty cap every few months.
Gerry Quinn
4   Posted 09/08/2010 at 15:45:33

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Baines not considered - "10 + 50 minutes minutes of EPL experience in an Arsenal shirt Wiltshire" makes the squad....WTF?
Says it all - better off out of the squad altogether.
Jags will get similar treatment, and the meedja will be telling us he would be a cert if he were an Arsenal player. Capello - tosser - clueless!
Iain Love
5   Posted 09/08/2010 at 15:45:54

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I have a view [ maybe wrongly ] that getting called up to the England squad is a/ to play or b/ to see if you might be good enough to play & c/ to see if your the best of the rest & an able back up.
Baines to my mind is c, i wouldn't pick him above Cole but he's probably better than the rest.
That said i'm not sure if i would want to have the distraction of England under the current set up, lets face it Capello is a dithering old man who doesn't know what he's doing, same as the bosses above him.
Matthew Lovekin
6   Posted 09/08/2010 at 15:48:46

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I've never understood Evertonians anti-Englandism, until now. Why we would want our best players to also turn out for that national shit is beyond me.

I'm happy for our players to not get recognised and stay fit and healthy and not have the so-called big clubs circulating and end up being poached as well.
Jay Harris
7   Posted 09/08/2010 at 15:51:54

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The fewer Everton players who are Associated with "Ingerland" the better.

It used to be a privilege to play for your country but its been devalued so much that even Scholes, Brown and Robinson are deciding to opt out!!
Ed Staunton
8   Posted 09/08/2010 at 15:51:16

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Gibbs was bloody awful for Arsenal form what I?ve seen, Italian is a joke, he say?s one thing & then does the complete opposite.
Chris Butler
9   Posted 09/08/2010 at 16:40:37

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Everton's most vital player.
David Price
10   Posted 09/08/2010 at 16:37:49

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Baines should not suffer any lack of confidence because Capello dosen't pick him. As proved in the World Cup the man had no idea on selection, tactics and formation. One of the best Managers in the premiership picks him every week, If Davey Moyes rates him as a player then he must be good, that's all Leighton needs to occupy his thoughts.
David McKitt
11   Posted 09/08/2010 at 16:57:23

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Well said David Price!
Mike Hayes
12   Posted 09/08/2010 at 17:19:50

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Why would any decent player want to be involved with the train-wreck that is the England Team?
Gerry Quinn
13   Posted 09/08/2010 at 18:07:23

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Mike #12 - how can you compare Inger-Lund and Capello to a train wreck?
A train, before it crashes, is moving in a known direction!
Dave Richman
14   Posted 09/08/2010 at 18:13:26

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Ever since Big Nev did his ankle playing for Wales I've been anti our guys playng international football......
Charles King
15   Posted 09/08/2010 at 17:39:19

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Capello earned his reputation flitting between AC Milan, Roma, Juve and Real Madrid ,clubs who your gran could manage and stand a fair chance of winning something.

England is a real challenge and clearly too much for him.Selection on form rather than reputation went out the window when he did'nt take the outstanding Adam Johnson, he took the crock Ledley King and gambled on Rooney and Heskey who were dire through injury or pre tournament form.
The goalie selection was a fiasco and he fails to see the limitation of Lampard when asked to be a real mid field player rather than a luxury spare man afforded to him at Chelsea.
Any Everton player is better away from this circus for the time being.
Tony McNulty
16   Posted 09/08/2010 at 18:34:28

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I am English and support the English team. Nevertheless I don?t look forward to our players being picked for the national side.

As others have said, the first problem is the risk of injury. The second problem is they get tapped up. Whisky Nose and others get their players to whisper in people?s ears. Rooney?s head certainly got turned after he joined the national squad. And the same is likely to happen when Rodwell gets his call-up.

As for Baines, I agree with others that he probably isn?t quite at the level, given the competition.
Mike Oates
17   Posted 09/08/2010 at 20:05:37

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Be realistic for goodness sake - all players (beside the French) want to play for their countries.
No international quality players would hang around with Everton if they weren't being considered for their counties. You wont get a Top 4 team with no internationals - you cant bury your head in the sand and say we dont want any of our players picked because they might get injured or pinched.
Dennis Stevens
18   Posted 09/08/2010 at 20:22:53

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If we have to suffer international football then it should all occur in a window of about 6 weeks at the end of each season ? qualification one summer & tournament finals the next.

If Ingerlund want to be taken seriously as one of the major footballing nations it would help to employ an English coach, otherwise any success would be devalued ? the FA should have snapped up Hodgson before he went to Anfield.

Jon Cox
19   Posted 09/08/2010 at 20:21:58

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Charles King, spot on. Bainseys better off out of it. for now.

I knew as soon as i saw the line up against Mexico that baines would be left isolated. Stevie Me however, is on the left and has other ideas. Being the hero that he is he decides to play the position he wants and, this was not the first game this had happened either.
Baines was left for dead. I saw it comming.

So bollox, England have probably lost more than a half decent left sided defender.

Trouble for you Mr Capello, is though, we've got Leyton and you've still got a guy who on Sunday was still left back for England and wouldn't even SHAKE YOUR BLOODY HAND.

Not only that, worse still is that we as England supporters have a manager who couldn't manage AN UNDER 10s FOOTBALL TEAM!!!!!

Now where was I.........

Joe McParland
20   Posted 09/08/2010 at 21:01:29

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Mike Oates, If what you say is true, can you tell us why Arteta has just signed a new contract although permanently overlooked no matter how well he plays?
Mike Oates
21   Posted 09/08/2010 at 21:29:38

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Joe # 20

Arteta knows that he has no chance to get into that Spanish squad - he must be about 7-8th in line no matter who he plays for.
Eugene Ruane
22   Posted 09/08/2010 at 21:36:13

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I think Baines has the actual football ability to be as good as anyone in his position.

I just get the impression that sometimes stuff goes on in his head that makes HIM doubt that.

I remember reading a (very honest) piece by him not long after he signed and remember thinking 'Jesus who's this feller?'.

Basically it was all about his doubts as to whether the move was 'too big' and what if he failed and what if the crowd got on his back. He talked about nerves and self confidence (or the lack of it).

Good in one way I suppose, because it showed him to be an individual capable of honesty and self-analysis.

However players who think too much often make me a little nervous, they think too much.
Dick Anderson
23   Posted 09/08/2010 at 22:04:56

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I agree I think Arteta has all but given up on an International call up.

He may have had more chance if he played for Barcelona or Real Madrid but as far as we know neither of those clubs came in for him.

My guess is Arteta realised that the chances of him being called up by Spain were remote no matter what club he played for.

He seems to love Everton so he might as well be Internationally ignored at Everton as anywhere else.
James Mullarkey
24   Posted 10/08/2010 at 09:26:14

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England managers generally pick from the big 4 & Southern teams. Carragher has been is as slow as a donkey and he got in the World Cup squad. you see Lampard & Gerrard consistently fail for the National side but always get picked. Scholes is 30 odd and was given the opportunity to go to SA. Darren Bent is not everyone's cup of tea but scored 20+ last season and never got a look in.

Me personally I don't care about our players playing. I'd rather them not, England are an embarrassment and until a manager is brought in who picks on ability & form then they will continue to fail. Couldn't care less.

Phil Roberts
25   Posted 10/08/2010 at 12:37:12

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Baines said I don't like going away from home I may get homesick.

So what do you want - only play the home games?

= mind made up for FC. Not a long term option, ditch him, move on to the next one.
Richard Reeves
26   Posted 10/08/2010 at 14:31:27

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About ten years ago, in a conversation with some friends, I said that I couldn't give a fuck about the England team. Of course I did care as I'm English and love football but even then I had had enough of the way the media over-hype everything and just came to the conclusion as I do now that the squad is full of prima donnas who probably want the exposure to increase their pay packets and celebrity status.

If it was the World Cup for England, or the Premier League for Everton, then I would choose the later every day of the week. As long as Baines does it for Everton then I'm happy.

I look at the England set up as a joke really. We have an England manager who isn't up to the job... yet, with all the warning signs, he's still there (frighteningly similar to what happened with Sven, yet the people who appoint these managers can't see it).

Gareth Humphreys
27   Posted 11/08/2010 at 11:40:08

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I'm in the camp that hopes all Everton players anounce their international retirement the moment they play for Everton.
Danny Burke
28   Posted 11/08/2010 at 17:23:47

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Baines came out and set the record staright that this homesick stuff was in fact, utter bollocks. Capello probably looked at it and said Baines is struggling as Gerrard is hanging him out to dry. Gerrard will still play from the left and so he will continue to abandon Baines by going central (even if told otherwise) and so Baines may struggle and so he went with Warnock.

Arteta has every chance of playing for Spain, he was told he was going to be in the next squad before his injury, he is to good to not get another chance. He may not get in ahead of Xavi, Iniesta and Fabregas, but Busquets, Alonso and a few others are not as good as the best little spaniard we know.
Eugene Ruane
29   Posted 11/08/2010 at 23:05:26

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Agree completely Gareth.
Jon Ferguson
30   Posted 12/08/2010 at 18:08:14

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I think Baines is a great player for Everton. However, despite the man being a disgrace as a human being, Ashley Cole is in the top 3 left backs in the world. He was the only player in the England squad to have a decent World Cup and Baines is not going to displace him.

Gibbs is very young and showing a lot potential and so could possibly be Cole's long term replacement. It's a shame for Baines but it makes sense for England.

This doesn't take away from Baines's ability and winning a few trophies with Everton over the next few years will probably numb the pain from not being part of in the squad eliminated in the first knockout round of Euro 2012.

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