Roberto Martinez hails Leighton Baines in attempt to keep him at Everton
The new Goodison Park boss Roberto Martinez showered praise upon defender Leighton Baines and labeled him as Everton icon. Roberto Martinez also suggested that Leighton Baines remained loyal to the Merseyside club, even though interest from Manchester United was on the rise.
Leighton Baines is considered to be one of the best left-backs in the world. The Englishman has been a hot topic in the transfer market since last summer. Manchester United made an attempt to sign in the fullback last summer, but their efforts were futile.
David Moyes managed to keep Leighton Baines at Everton last season, but another brilliant season and the departure of Scotsman has reportedly brought the 28-year-old England international closer to an exit.
After his appointment as manager of Manchester United, one of the first acts of David Moyes was to move in for Leighton Baines. The fullback has been one of the most consistent performers in the Premier League over the last couple of seasons. Leighton Baines has provided Everton with impregnable defense along with a plethora assists and a couple of brilliant goals.
Roberto Martinez understands he will have to work hard to keep the faith Leighton Baines has shown in Everton. The former Wigan Athletic manager claims he relishing the opportunity to work with the English defender this season.
“I think Leighton is more than a player, he is an icon,” Roberto Martinez told Everton TV. “He represents a lot about our football club and I am really, really excited about working with him. He is the best left-back in the country. He is a phenomenal performer and has become a very consistent player for Everton.
“This is a big season for him and for us as a club. When you are the left-back of this football club, and the level that he has been reaching over the last few years consistently, it shows me that he is the best left-back in the country. I can't wait to start working with him.”
Roberto Martinez urged Leighton Baines to get his head out of the transfer sagas he is being linked to and instead on concentrate on the upcoming World Cup.
“As a player, it's a very important year for him in terms of setting standards and trying to reach important things at the club,” Roberto Martinez added. “In a World Cup year, we are really looking forward to seeing that real consistency of performances and making sure he can be himself, as he has been in the last few seasons.”