Player: Leighton Baines, #3
Games Played: 44, Games Started: 44, Goals: 7, Assists: 6, Shots: 2, Shots on Goal: 20, Fouls Committed: 30, Fouls Suffered: 58, Yellow Cards: 4, Red Cards: 0.
The fact Manchester United are tracking Leighton Baines shows just how good a player the former Wigan youngster has developed into. In his own shy, retiring style, Baines continued the steady upward progress he has been making over recent seasons in 2012/13. His boundless energy and unflappable temperament made him a key component of the side and its success.
What he did well
Baines created more chances than any other fullback in Europe last season - a third of the total chances Everton created throughout the campaign, also ending up with seven goals and six assists to his credit. His almost telepathic link-up with Steven Pienaar was also a critical apex in Everton’s attacking play. Just writing this is making me concerned about how the side will cope should he move on this summer, such is his influence at both ends of the pitch.
What he could do better
It is hard to find any criticism of a player who played virtually every minute of every game, rarely put a foot wrong and acts like the consummate professional off the field. He looks like the sort of guy who would be a dream to manage, especially in this age of over-paid egotistical prima donnas. I guess the one thing I should say is: DON’T GO TO MAN UNITED!!
Using the school grading system of A, B, C, D, F, with A representing a great season, C an average season, and F a very poor season, how do you grade Leighton Baines on his performance this year according to the expectations you had for him?