International Blues: March Friendlies

Leighton Baines didn't get on the pitch today, but still made the news. - Mike Hewitt

It was a busy day in international football, with several Toffees featuring in the day's matches.

Perhaps the biggest news for Evertonians on the day came away from the pitch though, as Roy Hodgson implicitly named Leighton Baines England's top left-back as the World Cup approaches. Hodgson said that today's match would be used to help determine whether Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole, or Southampton youngster Luke Shaw would be the second left-back headed to Brazil for the Three Lions. The upshot then, of course, is that Baines has already been penciled in as England's top left-back.

Baines has struggled to get the playing time with his country that his performance with club has likely earned, after potentially misconstrued comments about homesickness kept him from going to South Africa for the World Cup in 2010. The 29 year old now appears to have put that unfortunate chapter of his international career behind him.

Neither Baines nor Ross Barkley featured for England in their 1-0 win against Denmark at Wembley Stadium today.

Seamus Coleman, Aiden McGeady, and James McCarthy all started for Ireland in a 2-1 loss against Serbia. Coleman played the full 90, McGeady was substituted after 72 minutes, and McCarthy was replaced just after the hour mark after conceding an unfortunate own-goal.

Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku both featured for Belgium in their 2-2 draw against the Ivory Coast. Mirallas played the first 62 minutes, and Lukaku came on for the last 17.

Steven Naismith played the second half of Scotland's 1-0 victory against Poland.

Tim Howard played well in goal for the United States in their 2-0 loss to Ukraine. Howard received little help from an experimental American back-line, and made a couple of noteworthy saves in an otherwise disappointing match for his country.

In U-21 Euro qualifying action, John Stones played the full 90 in England's 1-0 victory over Wales, Shane Duffy played the full match in Ireland's 2-1 defeat to Montenegro, and Apostolos Vellios (who is still a footballer apparently) played the final 13 minutes in Greece's 2-1 victory over Turkey.

No injuries to any of the Toffees in action today were reported.

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