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What The Papers Say - 19 May

by Daniel Alston @efc_danalston

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 The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the view of Everton. 

Daily Mirror

Everton defender Leighton Baines hopes his selection for England's Euro 2012 squad will have dispelled all the "nonsense" regarding his supposed fears over homesickness.

The left-back missed World Cup selection for South Africa two years ago at the expense of Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock with reports around the time suggesting he found it difficult being away from his family.

But the 27-year-old has been picked in Roy Hodgson's European Championships squad and believes that will now end all doubts.

"Hopefully this puts all that nonsense to bed and we can move on from that," he said.

"Because there was stuff that was said around that time that was really taken out of context. It will be nice to put that to bed.

"It's one of those things that gets hyped up around tournament time when people are looking for news, I suppose.

"People who are gullible enough to believe everything they read, that's up to them.

"That summer I spent three weeks with Everton in Australia. I'd have much rather of spent those three or four weeks at a World Cup. It wasn't to be.

"But, as I say, if [homesickness] was ever an issue, I wouldn't have been away with the club that long."

Baines is attending his first major international tournament, having previously played for the under-21s, and is looking forward to the experience.

"Everything you hear, everyone in football has only got good things to say about Roy Hodgson," he told evertonfc.com.

"Our manager [David Moyes] spoke really highly of him as well to me and Phil Jagielka (who is on the stand-by list) and said what a really good manager he is and not only that, but what a really good guy he is as well.

"I'm looking forward to getting to know him and working with him.

"Getting that good preparation, a couple of friendlies, some good training and getting what's necessary out of the next couple of weeks is what's important now.

"Then, after that, we'll just be fully focused on trying to keep a fully fit squad to take into the competition and we'll be well prepared by then and ready to have a go at it."

Daily Mail

Everton have released six players whose contracts expired at the end of the season, including midfielder James McFadden and goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann.

McFadden made just eight appearances during his second spell at the club, having joined as a free agent in October, while Hahnemann failed to make a first-team appearance having agreed a short-term deal in September.

The Echo

Barry Horne: IT’S that time of year again, where we look back on the season just gone, and try to analyse what we have seen.

The Premier League finished in dramatic style - though I’m not sure the season as a whole was quite so special - and for Everton there was a celebratory feel as Newcastle were brushed aside on the final day.
 
Quite rightly so, too.
 
For while the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham, Newcastle, Swansea, Norwich and now Wigan all seem to be gaining plaudits for their performances this season, the fact is that Everton have matched all of them since the turn of the year.
 
I haven’t been to every game, but I have seen enough to know that the Blues’ play is up there with the best.
 
As for the best moments? Well many will point to the thrilling 4-4 draw at Old Trafford, and the performance which secured it, but that is a drawn game. We still await our first win there since 1992.
 
For me, it is hard to look past January 31, and the victory over another Manchester club, City, at Goodison Park. It proved to be a watershed evening, both on and off the field. Without it, who knows where Everton might have finished the season.
 
Off it, the signings of Nikica Jelavic and Steven Pienaar were secured, and what a difference those two would make, whilst on it Darron Gibson’s goal, in front of an electric atmosphere at Goodison saw the eventual champions leave with nothing. It felt like a special night, and it was.
 
There were plenty of great individual performances at the club over the past 12 months, with Sylvain Distin and John Heitinga particularly impressive. All in all, it has been a season of progress and, largely, success at Goodison.

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