Leighton John Baines (born 11 December 1984) is an English professional footballer who plays as a left back for Premier League club Everton, where he is also vice-captain, and the England national team.
Baines playing for Everton in 2015
|Full name||Leighton John Baines|
|Date of birth||11 December 1984|
|Place of birth||Kirkby, England|
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|Playing position||Left back|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20:29, 4 February 2019 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 22:55, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
Baines started his career with Wigan Athletic, and was part of the team that won the Second Division in the 2002–03 season and was a runner-up in the 2004–05 Championship and the 2006 League Cup Final. He joined Everton in 2007, helping them reach the 2009 FA Cup Final. He has played for England at under-21 and senior levels. Baines was included in the England squads at UEFA Euro 2012 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Baines made his debut for Wigan Athletic in 2002, and was a member of the team that won the Second Division in the 2002–03 season. He was a regular in the first team when Wigan earned promotion to the Premier League in 2004–05. That season saw Baines score his first goal for the club, a long-range shot against Ipswich Town.
When he secured promotion with Wigan, he doubted he was good enough to play in the Premier League: "We won promotion to the Premier League and, straight away, I was thinking, 'Where am I going to go now?' I should have been celebrating but I spent a large part of that summer worrying about what it would be like spending the next year on the bench and in the reserves."
Baines signed a new contract with Wigan in February 2005 despite being linked to a number of Premier League clubs, including Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton, and extended his contract again after impressive displays in his first season in the Premier League. Whilst at Wigan he started in the 2006 League Cup Final defeat to Manchester United.
In July 2007, Baines rejected a move to Sunderland, after their bid of a reported £6 million was accepted by Wigan. In the following month he signed for Everton for an initial fee of £5 million, with another £1 million in add-ons, dependent on Baines's appearances for Everton.
Baines did not play regularly in his first season, making just 29 appearances in all competitions, due to an injury and the good form of Phil Jagielka and Joseph Yobo at centre back which kept Joleon Lescott at left back. His second season at Everton saw an increase in Baines's playing time. Due to an injury to Yobo, Lescott moved to the centre of defence and Baines played at left back. He was voted Player of the Month at Everton two months in a row in the 2008–09 season. Baines scored his first ever Everton goal against Portsmouth on 21 March, at Fratton Park, after 57 matches (in all competitions) without scoring. On 30 August 2009, he scored a last minute penalty in a 2–1 win over his former team Wigan. A month later, he captained Everton for the first time in a UEFA Europa League match against AEK Athens.
In the 2010–11 season, Baines played every minute of Everton's Premier League matches, as well as scoring seven goals in all competitions. His contribution was rewarded with the club's Player of the Season, Players' Player of the Season, and Goal of the Season awards. His goal against Chelsea, scored from direct free kick, was voted Everton Goal of the Season. He also contributed 11 assists throughout the season, 5th overall in the league, and was the league's highest assisting defender.
Baines scored five times during 2011–12, four of which were penalties. He reached 99 consecutive league matches before ending his season early due to injury. His performance at left back was deemed impressive enough to be named in the PFA's Premier League Team of the Year in 2012, the first Everton player to do so for 22 years since Neville Southall in 1989–90.
During the 2012–13 season, Baines created 116 chances for his teammates, more than any other player in Europe's top five leagues. When 2013's PFA Premier League Team of the Year was announced, Baines was again included, and he also won Everton's Player of the Season and Players' Player of the Season awards. Baines was the only outfield player to have played in every minute of every Premier League match during the season. He was the subject of multiple bids during the 2013 summer transfer window from Manchester United but all were rejected by Everton.
Baines scored two free-kicks either side of goalkeeper Jussi Jääskeläinen from the same position as Everton beat West Ham United 3–2 in September. He was only the fifth player since 2006–07 to score two direct free-kicks in one Premier League match (after Rooney, Ronaldo, Drogba and Larsson). Baines suffered a toe injury in November which saw him miss a top flight fixture for the first time in 52 matches. On 27 January 2014, Baines signed a four-year deal to extend his contract at Everton. He scored three penalties during the season to take his career tally to 13, becoming the first player in Premier League history to have taken more than 10 and never missed one. The 13th came on his 300th appearance in the competition in a 2–0 win over Manchester United. Baines scored five goals and assisted four others during 2013–14, the most of any defender in the league.
He scored his first ever goal in European football for Everton on 18 September 2014, netting from the penalty spot in a 4–1 win over Wolfsburg in the first match of their UEFA Europa League campaign. On 5 October 2014, his penalty against Manchester United was saved by David de Gea. This was the first time he did not score from a penalty in the Premier League. In January 2015, Baines made his 45th assist in the Premier League to overtake Graeme Le Saux as the defender with the most in the division's history. Baines missed the beginning of 2015–16 after injuring his ankle in training just before the Premier League started. Baines became the third defender to score 30 Premier League goals after John Terry (40) and David Unsworth (38) when he scored for Everton in a 3–0 win against Southampton on 2 January 2017. Baines became the first defender to reach 50 Premier League assists on 15 April 2017. Everton manager Ronald Koeman had reiterated Baines is Everton's first-choice penalty taker after he equalled the club's spot-kick record.
Baines scored the winner for Everton in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round first leg against Slovakian side Ružomberok on 27 July 2017. By scoring a penalty in a 3–2 home win over Watford on 5 November 2017, Baines became Everton's leading Premier League penalty scorer.
In the following campaign Baines scored a vital goal for the England under-21 team against Germany on 6 October 2006, securing a 1–0 win in the first leg of a UEFA European U21 Championship play-off. He played all four of England's matches in the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals. In total he played 16 times for the under-21 team and scored one goal.
With Wayne Bridge retiring from international duties, Baines was called up to the senior England squad for the first time in March 2009, and made his full international debut in a friendly against Egypt at Wembley Stadium on 3 March 2010, playing the full 90 minutes of a 3–1 win for England. He was selected in a provisional squad of 30 players for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but did not make the final squad of 23 players to be taken to South Africa, with Aston Villa left back Stephen Warnock, who had not played in the warm-up matches, taken in his place. Baines made his competitive international debut on 4 June 2011, replacing the injured Ashley Cole in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland, assisting Ashley Young for England's equalising goal.
He played full in England's first two matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup (against Italy and Uruguay), both ended in 1–2 defeats as the team was eliminated in the first round of the World Cup for the first time since 1958.
Style of playEdit
Baines is described in his UEFA.com profile as a "dependable left back" who is "best known for his set-piece expertise and penalties". But in his early years, Baines played in midfield and attack; it was only when he started at Wigan that he began to play in the left back position. Roberto Martínez had planned to redeploy Baines as a midfielder, in a similar change to Philipp Lahm. Baines has stated that he would be "excited to give it a go".
Baines is the current record holder of the most assists as a defender in the Premier League.
Baines was born and raised in Kirkby, Merseyside and was educated at St Joseph The Worker Catholic Primary School and All Saints' RC High School in Kirkby. He began playing football at a local Liverpool primary school but, age 10, had trouble playing for a Sunday League team because he was shy. He has three children with his wife, Rachel. Baines is a close friend of musician Miles Kane, and is himself a keen guitarist.
- As of match played 2 February 2019
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Wigan Athletic||2001–02||Second Division||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
- As of match played 27 March 2015
- As of match played 27 March 2015. England score listed first, score column indicates score after each Baines goal.
|1||7 September 2012||Zimbru Stadium, Chișinău, Moldova||10||Moldova||5–0||5–0||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|||
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