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Sharp: 'Baines Was Best'

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

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Graeme Sharp believes Leighton Baines was the best left back in the country last season.

The defender linked up with the England squad this week ahead of next month's European Championships and is out to convince new Three Lions chief Roy Hodgson he should start ahead of long-term regular Ashley Cole.

Sharp felt Baines outshone his Chelsea counterpart and all other rivals on a domestic level this term and also felt his form should have seen him retain the Everton Player of the Season award he won in 2010/11.

The honour instead went to Dutchman John Heitinga after he attracted the most votes from supporters on, while Sylvain Distin was named the Players' Player of the Season.

But while Sharp understands the outpouring of praise for the centre-back duo, he insists the man to their left was as impressive as anyone.

"I saw most games this season home and away and I would say Sylvain Distin and John Heitinga were excellent," said Sharp. "In the earlier part of the season, the defenders had to be at their best. We weren't scoring goals so there was more pressure on them and it's only right they were involved in the awards.

"But I think Leighton Baines has been absolutely fantastic. He's Mr Consistency. He played so many games on the run and, over the year, he was incredible - without doubt for me the best left back in the country.

"From Leighton you now expect seven or eight out of 10 every week because he's so consistent.

"Hopefully he stays fit and goes to the Euros now because it's no less than he deserves."

Sharp was talking in the third and final part of his exclusive Season Review, now showing on evertontv.

Watch it now to hear more from the Blues legend on the significance of finishing above Liverpool, Everton's strength of character and why Baines would also have won his Goal of the Season award.

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