Baines: No reason why I can't get back to my best

by | 15/11/2015  14 Comments  [Jump to last]

Leighton Baines has been philosphical mood during his rehabilitation from successive ankle operations but he is looking to achieve full fitness and is confident he can get back to his best this season.

The 30-year-old could make his long-awaited return to competitive action when the Premier League resumes next weekend as Everton host Aston Villa and it would represent the culmination of a lot of hard work and some introspection on the fullback's part.

The injury has been new ground for me, Baines told The Telegraph. It was weird in that respect. The first time it was like, What do I do here? After a while I was thinking maybe it was meant to be. I have never had more than 10 days off my whole career in terms of stopping and doing nothing [even in the close season].
It would have been more of a problem for me three or four years ago. I have worked on myself as a player and also as a person. [I]ts just a sport at the end of the day. We all go mad about it. Everyone is mad about it, and it is great, but things happen in your life.

Theres no reason I cant be as good as I was five years ago. If I am not I can look at myself in the mirror. It wont be for the want of trying. If you had seen me train over the last few months you can see Im keen to work."

Baines is similarly unfazed by the fact that he will enter the final year of his contract next summer, with no assurances at present that it will be renewed although with the precedent set by the likes of Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar, Tim Howard and Tony Hibbert, there's every chance it will be if he stays fit.

This is a dead interesting time for me. Its new. I have never been through anything like it before. Im older, Im going to be 31. I find it all quite exciting. Even the question of not having three years on a contract. Its a dead interesting position.

"In the past I have been younger, I have been fit and healthy and playing well. I am not in that situation any more. I am older. I have had two surgeries. I have one more year left. Its quite exciting to be honest.


Reader Comments (14)

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Brian Williams
1 Posted 15/11/2015 at 20:49:05
Welcome back, Bainesy, an intelligent footballer and an intelligent man.
Guy Hastings
2 Posted 15/11/2015 at 20:56:26
'In the past I have been younger': surprised he didn't quote Dylan -'I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now'.
James Stewart
3 Posted 15/11/2015 at 22:18:10
Great quote guy. Surprised by his contract situation. Seems like a no-brainer to get him tied down. He still had a lot to offer.
Aaron Underwood
4 Posted 15/11/2015 at 22:28:19
He wasn't looking the best before his injury if we're all gonna be perfectly honest. He's gonna have to do an awfully good job to convince me he should be in the first 11 over Galloway, although I totally understand it because of what potentially Baines can offer.
Nick Armitage
5 Posted 15/11/2015 at 22:49:37
If he gets to anything like his best, he won't be short of offers. A player of his calibre who is clearly brighter than the average knuckle-dragging Premier League player should test himself away from England.
Dave Pritchard
6 Posted 15/11/2015 at 23:03:03
Top player. Anybody even thinking about writing him off is foolish.
Harold Matthews
7 Posted 15/11/2015 at 23:41:13
Without Distin and Pienaar, he was often too exposed but an absolute top notch footballer with the right players around him. He will appreciate Funes Mori and possibly Tom Cleverley.

In time he will be supported by Besic in the left midfield position. Too early for negative thoughts. I hope he comes back somewhere near his old self.

Minik Hansen
8 Posted 15/11/2015 at 23:51:12
An unusual break for him will do wonders for our team, I believe, for the rest of the season and next. He's undoubtedly had time to look back and to this point in his career, he will blossom in his position (and possibly in a defensive midfield role). I'm even looking forward to his first game with us after the setback.
Colin Glassar
9 Posted 16/11/2015 at 00:10:06
If he was younger in the past does that mean he'll be older in the future? Welcome back Kotter, erm, Leighton.
Geoff Risebrow
10 Posted 16/11/2015 at 00:13:35
Brendan has impressed me but if Leighton is ready to start against Villa then he has to start. I agree that his form dipped as soon as he signed his new contract but hopefully we will see the Leighton Baines that we all know and love because he is a special footballer and one of the best Everton players in my time as a toffee!
William Cartwright
12 Posted 16/11/2015 at 03:33:11
Top, top player and a gentleman of the first order. All being well fitness-wise, his career with Everton is a long way from over.

I'm looking forward to seeing him back in the shirt and being a positive influence to the team. The potential link-up with Baines, Barkley and Stones as three deep-lying 'defensive' midfielders would be interesting too...

David Ellis
14 Posted 16/11/2015 at 10:41:46
I think we'll see Baines immediately displace Galloway (who is carrying a knock anyway I believe). I hope he gets to top form soon and is able to get back into the England shirt. With Luke Shaw also injured the starting place in Euro 2016 is wide open.

He's not quite the same player without Pienaar (and let's face it, we are not the same team without that pairing down the left-hand side), but hopeful he can fit into the current side and add a bit of nous. Galloway has had a good season but is not at the same level just yet as the Baines of old. Our best left back since Van den Hauwe or even Wilson.

Denis Richardson
15 Posted 16/11/2015 at 11:03:48
With Oviedo and Galloway injured, his return could not have been timed better. Thankfully the international break will give him a few more days to get in shape. (Also thankfully it's Villa next...)
Jim Bennings
16 Posted 16/11/2015 at 11:18:40
Let's hope so Leighton.

I'm also not getting carried away until he can get himself back out onto the pitch for 8-10 games and having no setbacks related to this injury.
Very often as we've witnessed with Bryan Oviedo, it's not so much as bein fit and available for selection again after a long term injury but more how your body reacts to the rigours of match action.

I sincerely hope we see the form Leighton Baines displayed between the years of 2009-2013, when he was easily the best left back in England if not Europe for that spell.
Certainly he was David Moyes most consistent player during Moyes last four years at Everton.

Although he's 31 next month, you'd love to think he could have one last really productive spell over the next 18 months, sadly I don't think he'll ever reach the peak years when he was operating with Pienaar, the body can't go to the limits like it used to once you reach the early 30's after bad injuries.

I'd love one last hurrah for Bainsey!

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