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Baines is playing in the wrong position

20/03/2015  Comments (14)  jump
A player of Baines's intelligence and ability is capable of influencing the game in ways that he can't by playing on the left side of defence. To fulfil his personal potential, and that of the team, he needs to be brought into the middle.

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Reader Comments (14)

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Tony Pickering
1 Posted 21/03/2015 at 16:50:43
I quite like this idea. Baines hasn't been at his very best for a while, the new challenge could be what he needs. It would also get Barry out of the team, with the additional bonus of a place in the team for Garbutt, hopefully helping him decide to stay at Goodison.
Mike Childs
2 Posted 21/03/2015 at 18:00:47
Bainesy's only problem is the high standard he has set by his past years. No wing in front him no help defensively at least he hasn't made howlers like the CB's and the GK.
Tony Pickering
3 Posted 21/03/2015 at 19:05:14
Hard to disagree with your thoughts there, Mike, particularly the latter parts; I can also totally agree he has set amazingly high standards – even on current form, he is still better than most others in his position.

However, I am wondering if it may be better for the club and team overall if he can strengthen the midfield by replacing the slowing Barry – great last year, but not so this. Baines is definitely unproven in the midfield position as yet, but maybe worth a try if it could help retain the services of a very, very promising young replacement at left back.

I don't think it will happen in time to keep Garbutt though as I am sure Leighton values his England place highly!

Ant Dwyer
4 Posted 22/03/2015 at 00:14:58
I think Baines is an incredible Premier League footballer. I also think like Garbutt has lots of potential, I think in there lies the answer to where to play Baines.... On the left with Garbutt (for those who need it spelling out).

I wasn't too keen on this type of idea a few years back but Baines isn't as sharp cutting crosses out as he once was but his left foot is like a wand, his crossing from open play is second to none for quality.

I can't believe our Spanish manager can't give it a try especially as he's been without any options in left mid.

Harold Matthews
5 Posted 22/03/2015 at 00:23:36
Dificult one this. I'm a big fan of Garbutt and his powerful left foot but, as displayed against Stoke, his defensive positioning is still all over the place.

Baines is a quick natural attacker who could surge forward from the left midfield role. He may end up in the Barry position but I wouldn't like to see him staying deep.

Patrick Murphy
6 Posted 22/03/2015 at 01:01:32
The man that Baines has missed apart from Pienaar is Distin who naturally covered him when he bombed forward in fact Leighton didn't have to get back quite as quickly as he does now, when Distin was in the team. Jags does try to cover him but when he finds himself dragged out of the middle the other defenders start to panic and get in terrible messes.

I also think that Coleman used to get more help from Jags when Distin was in the team. Distin may not be able to play great football but he understood his position and helped to organise the back four when the full-backs were up the field.

Harold Matthews
7 Posted 22/03/2015 at 06:52:56
Absolutely spot on Patrick. The Distin of old was a magnificent player. Backed up Baines, got his head on everything and was never out-paced. At Tranmere in pre-season, I watched him guide and guard young Garbutt but, sadly, his old legs couldn't go on forever. Not with the tippy tappy stuff anyway. He probably also got on the wrong side of the manager.

So yes, you're right. Jags would always guard Coleman but Baines is often left high and dry. Garbutt likewise.

Derek Thomas
8 Posted 22/03/2015 at 08:28:30
Baines isn't in the wrong position, some one else is...
Terence Leong
9 Posted 23/03/2015 at 04:39:29
It's timely if we can move Baines (though I think he has much to offer at left-back), but it can open up a chance for Garbutt and Oveido to fight it out for the left-back slot.

Think both of them are classy enough.

Baines can add to the repertoire that can phase Barry out, and it'll be an interesting midfield to consider e.g. how to still get Gibson involved while utilizing Besic and McCarthy.

Dean Barton
10 Posted 23/03/2015 at 17:13:00
He was played in midfield at Newcastle and Hull. We were all over the place at that time and I remember him looking like a left back playing in midfield. I'm not sure if he has the strength to play the position and its not exactly an area that we are short in.

I also remember Moyes playing him left midfield a few times when Lescott was keeping him out of the team. He was anonymous each time. He's a left back all day for me.

He also gets much more time and space on the ball playing left back than he ever would in midfield. Just because a striker can tackle doesn't mean he should play centre half!

Tony J Williams
11 Posted 23/03/2015 at 17:25:48
No he's not.

As stated above already, he misses his cover and his partner in Pienaar.

John Keating
12 Posted 23/03/2015 at 17:46:58
As Ant 4 says, I would like to see Baines playing in front of Garbutt on the left side of midfield. We could at least try this as right now; we are having serious left side problems since Pienaar got injured.

For all the good our other wingers are, Coleman could play in front of Browning. In a 4-4-2, when defending, we could have real strength in depth.

Eddie Dunn
13 Posted 23/03/2015 at 18:24:52
Baines is a solid left back and is 30 years old, a bit late for such a change. Anyway, having Garbutt, Baines and Oviedo is great. The top teams all have strength in depth, especially as Oviedo can also play on the wing.

As Patrick said, he has missed Pienaar and Distin.
Poor old Jags can't be everywhere, but yesterday it seemed that he was!

Shaun Laycock
14 Posted 23/03/2015 at 20:36:45
The problem arises when we have an unbalanced team. Baines/Coleman have been most effective when they have had someone in front of them. When we play with little width, you can see them looking for a pass down the line, but nobody is there. They have to then play back it inside...and we know what happens there.

They love to overlap and can trust people to cover for them. It isn't by mistake that the two recent performances (bar Kyiv) have seen more natural width and two positive results. I don't think 4-4-2 is the 'magic bullet' but I do think having someone in front of the full back helps immensely and helps their attacking and defensive games.

For what it's worth, I think Baines is a quality footballer who could play left back, left midfield or centre midfield.


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