Baines hails midfield strength
Published 07/10/2013 | 12:46
Everton defender Leighton Baines believes having the strongest midfield he has seen during his time at the club bodes well for the future.
The 28-year-old is in his seventh season at Goodison Park and thinks the options available to Roberto Martinez are the best during that spell.
Summer arrivals Gareth Barry, on loan from Manchester City, and James McCarthy, a £13million signing from Wigan, have increased competition in central midfield and the return from injury of Darron Gibson in Saturday's defeat at Manchester City has added to that.
"It is great to see someone of Gibbo's quality back, it just adds to the strength we have in the squad - there is plenty of competition for those places in midfield especially," said Baines.
"That is great for the manager and it gives him the opportunity to rotate sometimes and that is only going to help us."
Asked whether it was the strongest Toffees midfield he had played alongside, he added on evertontv: "From what I can remember it is, just because of the quality we have and there are a lot of players fighting for places.
"We have Steven (Pienaar) to come back (from injury) so if we have everyone back fit we will have a really good squad and the manager has some decisions to make."
While Everton may have lost their unbeaten record at the weekend, they have enjoyed a good start to the season as the squad have embraced the change in style brought by the new boss.
Many predicted a dip in fortunes because of the readjustment period required after Martinez succeeded David Moyes but there has been no evidence of that so far.
"It's a work in progress but we're working towards being a much better team," added Baines.
"I'm enjoying that aspect of it. I'm learning and hopefully we will continue to build on what we've started.
"We've been working on different things and people have begun to enjoy watching some of them.
"We've just got to tighten up the other aspects and keep developing."
Baines told the Liverpool Echo: "We've still got things we need to improve on. We gave the ball away too quickly high up the pitch to allow us to get any momentum.
"So every time we started to creep forward we'd lose it and that'd one of the things we're working on improving; being better in possession in the opposition's half. It's about sustaining attacks.
"Not doing it against City meant we kept ending up on the back foot again and susceptible to the counter-attack.
"We shouldn't have to just reflect on it afterwards. The next step tactically is to show that awareness during a game and say 'Okay, we've seen what you're doing,' and then change, but we didn't.
"Now we want to come back from the international break and get back to winning ways."