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Leighton Baines set for major Everton milestone against Sunderland

Blues’ left back legend will hit 300 league appearances for the club with a start this weekend.

Everton v Southampton - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

By nearly any measure, Leighton Baines is a Goodison Park hero, and he is set to further cement that status this weekend with a presumed start against Sunderland. The match will mark his 300th appearance for Everton in the Premier League, a number that of Everton players still active in football, only Tim Howard can surpass with 354.

The left back has amassed 27 goals and 54 assists in that time, a stunning mark for a defender. An England international with 30 caps, Baines has been a regular for Everton on penalty duty as well as set pieces.

Speaking about his achievement, he said -

“It's pretty amazing to go from playing on the streets and knocking about with your mates in Sunday League and all the things I see young kids doing and my kids doing to get to this position. So it's nice, but I try not to think too much about it."

Manager Ronald Koeman chimed in with praise for Baines.

“He’s really important. It’s always a difficult position in the team, the left full-back position. Not all the teams have the real top quality in that position - there are some right-footed players.

“We are really lucky to have Leighton at a good level and at good fitness. He’s been one of the best players in the last few games.”

Along with Gareth Barry, Baines has been one of the first choices to fill in at captain as the aging Phil Jagielka is finding himself on the fringes of the squad.

“I like him as a player and as a person as well. He’s really disciplined in the team and is involved in everything with Everton.

“He is important for younger players. He’s that professional player you want in the team as a manager.”

No matter the result on the pitch Saturday, one thing will be worth celebrating for Everton fans, and that’s the career of Everton legend (and Fifth Beatle) Leighton Baines.

Here’s a look at the fullback over the years -