Baines Still Has Plenty To Offer
Leighton Baines has been producing the goods for Everton for the past decade now but the former Wigan full back has no interest in slowing down and still feels he's got plenty for offer club and country.
Under contract at Goodison Park until 2019, Baines, 32, isn't concerned by the fact he's coming towards the latter stages of his career, well, he certainly will by the time his existing deal expires, telling the Official Website 'it comes to everyone.'
Baines, the Everton full back with the most appearances in the clubs' history, surpassing Tommy Wright's total of 375 games when turning out for the Blues in the Europa League play-off against MFK Ruzomberok, captain on that occasion and goalscorer too, is hopeful of plenty more memorable European nights.
He said: 'European nights at Goodison always have a slightly different feel. It can be hard to explain. It is the same game and the same place - but it is different. And, hopefully, in this season's competition we can have some really good nights, which will stay in people's memories.'
Domestically Baines would be expected to make his 300th Premier League appearance against Tottenham on Saturday.
He's enjoyed many memorable moments as it is during his career to date but Kirkby-raised Baines, despite admitting he has the odd moment where he does think it 'pretty special' he ended up playing for the Blues, prefers not to 'dwell on any achievements' whilst still playing.
'While I am playing, I tend not to stop and dwell on any achievements for too long. But it depends where you are coming from. I was a kid on the street playing football, so in that respect, every day is a success,' said Baines.
Adding: 'I watch my son play football on Buckley Hill and at Walton Hall Park. They are the places I grew up playing, the same fields, hundreds of kids with all their hopes and dreams. So, when you look at it that way, I was one of those kids… and I ended up here. If you take a moment to look at it like that, it is pretty special.'
Baines, looking back at several moments during his time with the club, did also reflect on his transfer to Everton from Wigan in 2007 and how, eventually, he got the move he wanted - other clubs had shown an interest but a switch to the Blues was the only one for him.
Yes, time is catching up with Baines but there's still plenty of football left in him and there's no plans to turn his back on England at the moment.
The last of his 30 caps were won two and a half years ago but Baines, conceding he's got some tough competition ahead of him and isn't too unhappy with how things are, hasn't entirely given up hopes of making it into Gareth Southgate's squad for the World Cup finals in Russia next summer.
However, Baines is content to give whatever he has left in him to Everton.
Baines finished: 'There are some top players in my position and they have been doing well. Honestly, I am happy with the way things are set up now - and that I can give everything to this football club. Whatever is left in me to give, I am more than happy to give it to Everton.'