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Baines: It's all moving in the right direction

by | 08/08/2014  Comments (32)  jump
Left back pleased by Everton's ambitions

Leighton Baines says that the retention by Everton of its best players this summer is as big a statement as the record-shattering purchase of Romelu Lukaku and reveals that it was Roberto Martinez's ambition that persuaded him to extend his own contract last season.

Baines ended two years of speculation linking him with a move to Manchester United — talk that became real when his ex-manager, David Moyes, launched an official bid for his services last summer — by putting pen to paper on a four-year extension to his existing deal in January.

And he has been followed by Seamus Coleman, Ross Barkley, John Stones and the manager himself this close season, all of whom have committed their future to the club. James McCarthy, another of last season's stand-out performers, is also expected to sign a new deal in the coming months.

What the club has done lately is retain its best players, Baines told the Echo's Greg O'Keeffe in Germany ahead of the friendly against SC Paderborn tomorrow.

Everyone here who has been linked with someone has stayed and committed to the club. The younger lads; Ross, Stonesy, Seamus have all been linked with clubs and they've all got their best football ahead of them, but they're all happy to do it here. That's as big as anything for me.

The manager was telling me that's what he wanted to do when I signed my contract.

[A] few of the other lads have been talked about as going by the media but, in all fairness, none of them have been the slightest bit interested in playing anywhere else. You hear that from them. They are enjoying it here and they want to achieve what they can here.

The 29 year-old, who is back raring to go after a disappointing World Cup with England, says the same of Lukaku, now the Blues' record signing following the conclusion of a 25m deal with Chelsea, one that could rise another 3m in add-ons over the life of his initial contract.

It was a big statement, Baines continues. Rom was linked to loads of clubs and I think the Chelsea fans would have liked to have him back there as well. So it was a brilliant signing for us."

Read the full interview at the Liverpool Echo

Reader Comments (32)

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Kevin Rowlands
1 Posted 08/08/2014 at 23:45:07
Sure doesn't sound like someone who's concerned about our alleged lack of transfer activity, nice on Leighton!
Drew O'Neall
2 Posted 08/08/2014 at 23:47:00
Baines had a poor season by his standards last year and didn't repeat the record cross/assist stats of Moyes' last season in charge.

That is mainly I'm sure to the change of playing philosophy but given his defensive ability is questionable I wonder whether cashing in on him for big money at 29 wasn't a better option given we have Oviedo in reserve.

Lyndon Lloyd
3 Posted 08/08/2014 at 23:52:54
You mean the Oviedo who will likely miss 9 months in total with a broken leg, Drew? :)

I'm not sure you can say Baines had a poor season even by his standards last season but he was visibly less effective without Steven Pienaar ahead of him and, like you say, had to play a more defensive game.

We're a better team with him there, though. His 100% record from the penalty spot and his ability from direct free kicks make him a highly valued member of the team and I don't think that cashing in on him would have been the best option.

We're in the business of keeping hold of our best players now, but it won't mean much unless we round out the squad and push on for silverware and/or a top-four finish. Realistically, that means (in addition to the incoming Atsu) another striker and cover for Seamus Coleman at least, in my opinion.

Drew O'Neall
4 Posted 09/08/2014 at 00:20:44

I'm a Baines fan but I'm also pragmatic about Everton's financial position among our peers in the PL.

We have a rapidly depreciating asset who was, at the time of stalling on his contract, at the peak of his value.

I was thinking more about having a suitable long term replacement when I mentioned Oviedo but at the point Baines was in vogue with United (most of the January transfer window) Oviedo was still healthy (hindsight's 20/20!).

We didn't need to sell and that's a positive but for how long will we be in that position? Over the 6 months following that transfer window Baines was surpassed as our most salable asset by Barkley, Coleman, Stones and McCarthy.

I'd rather lose an aging player for whom we have long term cover than the future spine of our club.

After Baines(' agent) leveraged the interest to become a top earner at Everton, I just think the alternative to paying him silly money IE gaining 㿀m for his registration, did stack up.

Danny Kewley
5 Posted 09/08/2014 at 00:28:55
I feel sure Bainsey will make it as a strong creative midfielder at the Blue Palace with Garbutt/Oviedo at the rear.
Gary Creaney
6 Posted 09/08/2014 at 00:25:39
Good man Bainesy, been one of favourite players for years now. Cover for Coleman is essential in my view. Hibbert at right back will simply not do. Someone like Micah Richards has been rumoured and would offer a decent option at right back and even CB if necessary.
Up front I'd be creaming if a deal was somehow brokered for Remy... Living more in hope than expectation for that one.
Greg OKeefe of the Echo is a reliable source on Twitter and he reckons an another striker is going to be brought in. No mention of who at this stage. I'm thinking Traore but so so hopeful of Remy
Derek Knox
7 Posted 09/08/2014 at 00:41:51
To all fellow posters, I have always felt that Baines has not been producing the performances of late, and most certainly has been found wanting in his defensive duties too !

It could be argued that he was playing in a different system, but so was everyone else when Roberto initially took over.

So I don't really buy into that argument, because there were games where he looked the Baines of old, and gaining MoM awards.

Take the World Cup, I know over all, the team did not perform well, but Baines was a shadow of his previous , self and form, which was the reason he was chosen over Cashley Cole, in the first place !

As a couple of posters have said, here we have a loyal blue, but it's more the defensive aspect of his game which is worrying !

Ant Dwyer
8 Posted 09/08/2014 at 01:25:32
IÂ’m not sure IÂ’m reading half of these statements properly! But, if I am, I must be reading a red page or something. Can anyone tell me of a better left back who is currently playing football in the EPL? IÂ’m struggling to think of one! Shaw is not even close, and neither is Kolarov, Clichy or Cole... so can anyone please explain to me why we would even consider selling Baines!

HeÂ’s a true professional, an awesome set-piece taker, almost always fit and in his prime. If Everton are no longer a selling club and we can now operate in the market as we have this season, IÂ’m more than happy to never cash in on the likes of Tim Howard, Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin an especially Leighton Baines.

Get with it, blue boys, please.

Ernie Baywood
9 Posted 09/08/2014 at 02:01:36
I think if our team regressed we would again see the old Leighton as our dependence on him would increase again.

We now have options on both flanks. We now have players prepared to take a touch and be creative.

Basically he doesn't need to do it on his own like he was a few years ago. The fact he can do that is incredible and highlights the standard of player and character that he is. But nowadays he's a top player in a very good side. I suspect we'd miss him more than we notice him right now.

Peter Wilson
10 Posted 09/08/2014 at 02:24:10
I really don’t want to sound biased but whoever said sell Baines is an idiot. I wouldn’t want any other left back in the world! Also, signing Remy is a great shout and I would hope that would be in our budget. If we did that, then I think we would be a real force and I’d be so excited for next season.
Harold Matthews
11 Posted 09/08/2014 at 03:33:05
Fantastic player but he does have his faults and it wouldn't be a surprise if Roberto decided to try him in a different position at some point. I just wish he would hit his corners with the same height and power as his freekicks.
Christopher Wallace
12 Posted 09/08/2014 at 04:22:28
Living legend. I've been following since about 1993. Baines personifies everything I live about our club, along with converted boys like Duncan and Tim.


Brian Hill
13 Posted 09/08/2014 at 07:26:27
The retention of Baines should be considered as comparable with the contract extensions of Barkley et al. Irrespective of the money that could have been garnered, it was, to use a current cliche, a statement of intent - our best players are NOT FOR SALE.

Sue Brown
14 Posted 09/08/2014 at 07:59:14
I don’t get this "sell while the price is good" mentality. So you want us to always be a feeder club yet moan that the team never progresses?
Bainsey is blue through and through and I don’t think he ever considered a move to OT.
His form last season wasn’t as effective but how much this was down to Pienaar being out injured I don’t know as they have enjoyed an excellent understanding on the pitch and complimented each other. Baines is still a force to be reckoned with.
Patrick Murphy
15 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:47:20
If Baines had chosen or had been allowed to leave Everton last year, the younger players may not have thought that Everton were going places and may not have remained with the club. Leighton is not perfect - who is - but he is a genuine lad who gives of his best in every match he plays he is a good ambassador for the club, and a good role model for the younger players as to be fair are most of the elder statesmen in the team.

Garbutt will benefit from Baines' experience and as has been mentioned Bainsey may well find himself further up the pitch on occasions. Too few players in the Premier League are akin to Baines and we should be proud that we have a lad with his ability and personality playing for the club. Money is not the be all and end all of the game - it comes and it goes - people and players similar to Leighton are a rare breed and should be cherished and not sold to make money for the club.

Ray Roche
16 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:53:27
Derek Knox @7

Derek, to say that Baines WC performances were "a shadow of his previous , self and form" is simplifying things. Baines is at his best with Pienaar as a foil and when Pienaar, or a player who can dovetail with Baines down the left, is missing he is not the same player. With England we had Welbeck who did not have a clue how to work with Baines, and Gerrard who kept ignoring his left sided defensive duties to pursue his "Me, Me Me," campaign. Coupled with Jags being used on the left of defence as opposed to the right with Everton, and Baines was left out to dry. Not entirely Baines fault. Hodgson was his usual inept, confused self.

Danny Kewley
17 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:55:14
Totally agree Sue.
If we, as a club want to expand and strive for success, need to keep hold of our "Family Silver" Especially as 24/7 Dear Dear Bill will not allow investment and premiership wonga is at an all time high!
Drew O'Neall
18 Posted 09/08/2014 at 08:54:01
It's a pretty basic concept. Given we don't have the backing of an oil baron we have to make every penny work for us.

Arteta was an example of where it worked well for us. We had the best years of his career and then sold him just before his value dropped.

He is iledgedly surplus to requirements at Arsenal this year but they won't get anything like the 㾶m we recouped.

We replaced him with a better player on lower wages in McCarthy who admittedly cost us more in capital terms but who has a stable, and possibly appreciating, value to us over the next 5+ years.

I don't want to lose our best players but we have to have faith that the manager can replace our former favourites with future favourites - that's the model and the value of a great manager.

Christopher Timmins
19 Posted 09/08/2014 at 09:30:50
Baines is the best left back in the division and has been for the past couple of years. Lets hope his form in a blue shirt continues in the year's ahead.
Drew Shortis
20 Posted 09/08/2014 at 09:28:37
I agree totally with Baines. We have finally shaken off our tag as a selling team, under which we could never hope to really progress. You see with Southampton how destabilizing it can be when one of your star players moves on. The others must start to feel left behind and like they are missing out and before you know it the vultures are circling and they are jumping like rats leaving a sinking ship.

I view each of the contract extensions as just as important as an incoming transfer. I think our new-found stability also played a huge part in convincing Romelu Lukaku that Everton were a team with real potential to build something special. He has been open in his wish to play for a Champions League team and I think Martinez has shown him we have the potential to achieve that goal. I don't think he came here for the wages (though I'm sure they are nice) but for the camaraderie within the squad and the vision Roberto has for the future.

Well said Leighton. You made the right decision!

Drew O'Neall
21 Posted 09/08/2014 at 09:32:58
I do agree with the points about Baines exemplifying everything good about our club but am
just trying to illustrate what my point was about to people who shout 'idiot'.

Great player and servant who never wanted to leave and was doing what we all would at the time of contract renewal, getting the best deal and staying at the club he loves.

Geoff Evans
22 Posted 09/08/2014 at 10:38:04
The manager is building a squad of players who want success for the club as much as we do. He knows the importance of strong foundations, getting it right from the bottom up and not putting together a team for short term success but building a club players will want to play for years down the line.
I've loved this club since the '50s but I've never been as optomistic as I am now, BK, for all his detractors, has done Evertonians a huge service by appointing Mr Martinez, he's a true footballing man who loves the blue club like a certain Scot loved the club across the road.
Geoff Evans
23 Posted 09/08/2014 at 10:38:04
The manager is building a squad of players who want success for the club as much as we do. He knows the importance of strong foundations, getting it right from the bottom up and not putting together a team for short term success but building a club players will want to play for years down the line.
I've loved this club since the '50s but I've never been as optomistic as I am now, BK, for all his detractors, has done Evertonians a huge service by appointing Mr Martinez, he's a true footballing man who loves the blue club like a certain Scot loved the club across the road.
James Martin
24 Posted 09/08/2014 at 11:57:23
Baines started all of this off. Had he jumped ship like all the other stars eventually did before him what would the likes of Ross Coleman and Rom think? 'Leave Everton if you want to win things'. That single moment sent a message out to the rest of the squad particularly the younger players. If the best left back in the league is staying then none of you have any reason to leave. This could be a golden generation if Barkley Coleman Stones Lukaku and McCarthy all stay together and in my eyes it will be because of that moment, because Bainesy was brave enough just to say no unlike so many beforehand. He may not be as quick as he was now due to some injuries but for me Roberto is right to call him an Everton icon.
Geoff Evans
25 Posted 09/08/2014 at 12:10:39
Great point James (24)
Mike Childs
26 Posted 09/08/2014 at 12:10:51
Finally James (24) mentions his injuries last year which certainly had an effect on his season. Once Oveido broke his leg, Baines was rushed back not an easy thing to do get healthy while playing full time.
When you toss in the fact that Oveido was an unknown commodity at the time United was pushing for Baines we hardly could have or should have cashed in. Thank You Leighton!
Mark Tanton
27 Posted 09/08/2014 at 12:31:54
Just watched all Big RomÂ’ s goals for Everton last season. So exciting to have him back. Who can remember the last Evertonian to score more than one goal in a Derby? I am wracking my brains... itÂ’s not Cottee is it?
James Martin
28 Posted 09/08/2014 at 12:52:02
Mark maybe AJ in the 3-0? Although it was more like one and a half goals.
Mark Tanton
29 Posted 09/08/2014 at 13:34:53
Yes youÂ’re right James forgot about ALJÂ’s goals.
Trevor Lynes
30 Posted 09/08/2014 at 14:52:42
Baines could easily play in front of either Oviedo or Garbutt who has definitely been influenced by Baines. Baines is very good on the ball and is an intelligent player with pace. He may well play the Pienaar role in future.

I think young Garbutt can become a top player in the same way as Baines. He has a fine left foot, takes good dead balls and has bags of pace.

I just hope that we get Atsu as he is a very direct player with lots of pace. He and Mirallas on the other wing will terrify some opposing defences and perhaps provide decent ammunition for Lukaku, Kone and Naismith.

Colin Glassar
31 Posted 10/08/2014 at 14:55:00
Totally agree Trevor. I've just read this thread for the first time and the idea that we should cash in on Bainsey beggars belief. Thank god some of the above are not managing our team. Bainsey is the best LB in the league (despite being hung out to dry in Brasil by his incompetent colleagues, and crucified by the usual media led witch hunt) and we should consider ourselves honoured to have such a fine servant at the club.
Jackie Barry
32 Posted 10/08/2014 at 15:07:02
Oviedo with Baines playing in front of him does sound tasty.

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