Baines Welcomes Young Influx

by Darren Griffiths
@dgriffiths65

Leighton Baines has welcomed the presence on the American pre-season tour of a few of the younger members of the squad.

Conor McAleny, Apostolos Vellios, Adam Davies and Magaye Gueye may not have a great deal of first team experience between them but Baines can certainly see the benefit of bringing them to Philadelphia and Washington this week.

"They're good players and it's nice for them to spend time with us," said the England left-back.

"It's also nice for us because they're young and lively! They've got plenty of ability and potential and the more time they spend with the senior lads the more things that we do on and off the pitch will rub off on them."

Baines was keen to stress the importance of the off-the-field influence that senior professionals can have on young footballers - especially in a pre-season tour environment a long way from home.

"You've got to represent the club and be on your best behaviour when you're away and do things right," he said.

"It's also about what you do between the sessions, making sure that you do the right things to recover. You can't go out and about too much because you've got to keep something in the tank for the next sessions.

"It's good for them to see the professionalism that we've got throughout this squad - we've got a great set of lads.

"We're a small group but we're a close-knit bunch. We spend a lot of time together and that's what these trips are all about as well in some respect. It's about getting together and once you get that going off the pitch it carries on to the pitch which is what playing for this club is all about."

Training 1

The Everton team arrived in Philadelphia on Sunday evening and, as is the norm when travelling through different time zones, some of the players didn't quite enjoy a full night's sleep. Baines was up very early but he wasn't alone and he took the opportunity to explore his new surroundings.

"Jags text me this morning at about half-five asking if I was awake!" he grinned.  "I was and so by half-six we were strolling around Philadelphia and although it was very quiet it seems to be a fantastic city with a lot going on.

"It looks quite arty and it looks like a fun city to spend time in. It's a shame that we can't take more of it in but we're here to work and we're all fully focussed on that."

To watch the first team clash between Everton and Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night (00.30 UK time) click here .

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