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Does Everton need to worry about Leighton Baines?

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Taking a look at Everton's left back role ahead of the upcoming season.

Jeff Holmes/Getty Images

Current Players:

Name

Age

Nationality

2014-2015 Apps

Goals

Assists

Leighton Baines

30

England

37

3

13

Brendan Galloway

19

England/Zimbabwe

2

0

0

Departures: None

Arrivals: None

Returning Players:

Everton only have two true left backs as part of the squad in veteran Leighton Baines and youngster Brendan Galloway. Baines managed 37 appearances in all competitions last season and he most certainly has the role locked down for this campaign. Baines did miss out on the last couple of matches last year as he finally had surgery on an ankle that had hampered him for years. It also did not help that he was on international duty with England for last summer's World Cup as he was not afforded a full break. Since returning to action in the preseason friendlies, he has mentioned that he feels better than he had in quite some time.

The other returning player for Everton is Brendan Galloway. Galloway seems to have secured himself a spot amongst the club's reserves and will be around to backup Baines in case he goes down with an injury or just needs a rest. Galloway managed to get two starts at the end of last season while Baines was out.

Tactics:

With Leighton Baines anchoring the position, left back becomes one of the Toffee's most reliable areas on the pitch. As long as he is fit, he should continue to shut down the opponent's attack.

Something that shines through for Baines is his offensive prowess as a defender. He is known for being able to move up the left side as an alternate winger and create scoring opportunities for himself and others. This is an important trait for Baines as he provides a potent threat of a counter attack. We did not see much of that last year due to his ankle injury but since the start of the 2010-2011 season Baines has tallied 28 goals.

Now that he is healthy again, look for Roberto Martinez to encourage the player to get up the pitch and press forward when the opportunity calls for it. We have seen in several of the preseason matches that offense is often lacking so contributions from all players will be necessary if the team is to succeed.

Summary:

Leighton Baines is a top left back in England and one of the best in the world. The position is his for the foreseeable future, barring injury or some other unforeseen issue. It needs to be noted though that Baines will turn 31 in the middle of the season and at some point we may start to see his decline. With Luke Garbutt out on loan at Fulham, the only natural player to push Baines is Galloway (although another defender could potentially make a move to the left).

I would expect to see Brendan Galloway in limited action as Roberto Martinez may start to think about succession planning. He could be used in some cup matches and also may come on in a substitute role. Whatever chances he may get, Galloway better take advantage as Luke Garbutt with his newly minted contract appears to be the heir apparent to Baines.

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