Mike Taylor...
Our Leighton
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Our Leighton
Our Leighton
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In a season filled with inconsistency, there hasn't been much for Evertonians to bank on. Luckily for us, there has been an exception in the form of Leighton Baines.
The left-back quite simply oozes Everton. He is the epitome of everything I believe Evertonians stand for, and certainly fulfils the criteria we expect from those lucky enough to pull on the Royal Blue. I don't mean just being a "top pro" either, anybody can go to bed at 9pm every night and get up at 5am to do Yoga - just ask Phil Neville. Baines is much, much more than that.
He is indeed, by all accounts, a very good professional - something his teammates and manager have been first to vouch for. This aside, his form over the past 2 years or so has been nothing short of phenomenal. Lest we forget, he's played most of this season whilst carrying a troublesome ankle injury. Despite this, he has in a lot of people's opinion now moved ahead of the immovable Ashley Cole. Recent stats have shown that on an attacking level at least, Baines certainly leads the way. In fact, he has created the most goal-scoring opportunities for teammates than ANY other player in Europe's top 5 leagues. His delivery is exquisite, his link up play down the left with Steven Pienaar is still our primary source of attack and he still chips in with a stunning free-kick every now and then. For these reasons, I believe he is our most irreplaceable player - not just because of the relatively low £15-20 million fee being touted. But who else is out there to replace him? If indeed there are any, the list will be desperately short for full-backs of Baines' ability outside of the European giant clubs.
It's the little things as well, his modesty and keenness to avoid the modern day footballer image, make him a very likeable character. He's always first to applaud the fans, be it in the warm-up or when taking a corner and you get the feeling he is genuinely honoured to play for Everton. And that's what it's all about for me.
I can handle the idea of a lot of our players leaving after what has ultimately been another frustrating season, but Leighton Baines is certainly not one of them. One thing is for sure, if he does leave for pastures new and goes on to chase his dream of playing in the Champions League - you can guarantee he'll leave in the right manner. This alone, is more than can be said for most prima donnas of today's football world. Like all Evertonians, I don't take too kindly to our best players leaving, but I understand if he moves on this summer as he quite evidently deserves Champions League Football. It'd certainly be with a heavy heart to say goodbye to one of our own. Mike Taylor.

Follow Mike on twitter @mtaylor1878

Comments about Our Leighton
A true gentlemen and an outstanding footballer. I've met him a few times in the states and he's always had time for a chat and pics with the kids. He's at a level that he could act a right "tw*t" but he's taken responsibility for acting like a normal lad who just happens to be the best left back in the world. We need more people like him not just in sport but in the entire celebrity madness where we prop up the usual cast of idiots as "heroes". Well done Dixie, you make us all very proud as fellow scousers and Evertonians.
VirginiaBlue, Virginia USA, 3:20 PM 20/03/2013
Very well put. I certainly doubt he will leave though. He's happy here, he plays every week and we love him. If he was to go who would replace him? Luke Shaw maybe? He's certainly in a similar mould.
Mike, Swansea, 2:37 PM 20/03/2013
Brilliant article. Absolutely spot on.
Tommy, Liverpool, 1:14 PM 20/03/2013
Top Player.....and a TOP MOD!
Sloanie, E Port, 12:32 PM 20/03/2013
This guy can do anything. Can someone tell him please we`re looking for a new lead guitarist?
Mice Tke the Elevator, Ross-on-Wye, 11:02 AM 20/03/2013
My favourite player. Superb player (best left back in the world), modest, unassuming, really pleasant guy off the field (99% are overpaid thicko's), and an all round demi-god. If he goes I'll understand his reasoning - but I will be gutted. Please don't go Leighton! If Hodgson persists with Cole (he shouldn't) - why not play Bainsy on the left of midfield for England?
BlueJim, Liverpool, 7:23 AM 20/03/2013
Couldn't have put it any better myself Mike. Leighton Baines is class on and off the pitch, and I'll be truly devastated if he leaves in the summer. But on the other hand I will understand and would wish him all the best as Champions League football is the very least he deserves.
Michael, Hampshire, 6:49 PM 19/03/2013
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