independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Baines 'key cog' in Everton team

Leighton Baines has had another excellent season for Everton

Left-back Leighton Baines is Everton's "key cog" and deserves more credit than he gets, according to goalkeeper Tim Howard.

The England defender has had another excellent season but his performances did not do enough to see him recognised by his fellow professionals in the PFA Player of the Year nominations. None of the six selected are defenders but Howard insisted Baines' contribution was vital to the team.

"With Bainesy at left-back it's not a glamour position and I think it's hard sometimes to see just how effective he is," he said.

"He's our key cog. We've got (Marouane) Fellaini and (Steven) Pienaar and those guys, and obviously Kevin Mirallas, can produce a bit of magic.

"But without Bainesy this team doesn't go. It's just hard sometimes for people on the outside to see that."

Howard insists the squad have not felt sorry for themselves after last weekend's defeat at Sunderland effectively ended their chase for Champions League qualification.

European football is still a slim hope for David Moyes' side through fifth place in the league, although that looks increasingly more difficult as they trail Tottenham by five points having played one match more.

"We won't let one setback knock us," Howard told evertonTV ahead of this weekend's visit of Fulham, against whom they have won 12 and drawn one of their 13 meetings at Goodison Park.

"We have to perform at home, we know that, and when you are on your home pitch you have to push the tempo."

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