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Baines Hopes For England Chance

by Andy Lewis @efc_andylewis

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Leighton Baines is hoping for a chance to showcase his Euro 2012 credentials against Norway this weekend.

The Everton left-back was last week named in Roy Hodgson’s party for this summer’s tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

The Three Lions begin their preparations with a friendly in Oslo on Saturday (7.45), and with Baines’ defensive rival Ashley Cole having only recently completed 90 minutes plus extra time in Chelsea’s Champions League final win, he is optimistic of getting a start.

For Baines that would give him the chance to impress and also bank some valuable minutes on the pitch after a hamstring injury disrupted the finale to his domestic campaign.
“Obviously Ashley had the Champions League final as well, so hopefully I'll feature in at least the first one,” the full-back told evertontv.

“It's just an opportunity to get a game and stake a claim. I haven't played a lot of games recently. I've just come back and played my first game in four weeks.

“So I'm trying to get that rhythm back, that's important to have. It’s about getting that good preparation out of the next couple of weeks, a couple of friendlies, some good training and whatever is necessary.

“After that we’ll be fully-focused, hopefully have a fully-fit squad and we’ll be well prepared going into the competition.”

Following Saturday night’s game against the Norwegians, England return to Wembley to face Belgium in their final warm-up game on Saturday, June 2.

On the opposition side is likely to be the familiar face of Marouane Fellaini - but it is a new face Baines is looking forward to seeing in action.

England boss Roy Hodgson plumped for the precocious talents of Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in his squad and Baines says the youngster can have a big impact this summer.

“I don't think [his inclusion] will raise too many eyebrows just because everyone knows what a top talent he is,” added the Blues defender.

“He's doing it for Arsenal. He's already been playing at the highest stage at club level, not only here but he's been playing in the Champions League and playing very well.

"So it's a good opportunity for him, I'm sure he's excited about it and I'm sure it's not going to be anything to big for him.”

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