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Arsenal (A) Sun 1 Mar 2015, 14:05, Barclays Premier League

by Daniel Alston @efc_danalston

Roberto Martinez says Leighton Baines' influential role in England's World Cup qualification should not have come as a surprise to anybody.
The Blues defender starred in the final two group games as Roy Hodgson's men earned the six points required to reach Brazil, with Baines earning rave reviews from the national media.
And with Ashley Cole ruled out of the double-header, the 28-year-old appeared to capitalise and take up a strong position in the two-horse race to be the Three Lions' first choice left-back.

But while the rest of the country may be relative newcomers in realising the strength of Baines' game, Martinez knows it's something he - and Everton's fans - see on a weekly basis.
He said: "I look at the outstanding contribution he had over the two games. Against Poland he was really influential, he enjoyed his football and he showed just where he is in his career.
"From our point of view, his performance is something we see week in and week out. It's great to see a player taking that into international duties. That shows maturity and how ready he is to perform in that manner.
"There are not many left-backs in world football that can produce what Leighton Baines does.
"In football, in general, when you work tactically and talk about positions in the modern game, full-backs are so important now. They are players who can attack and give you balance and get up and down to give energy to the side's attacking threat.
"I think Leighton gives you that. Seamus Coleman has shown this season that he is capable of the same things, so we are pleased [to have that] in our squad.
"I thought Baines' performances for England were a real joy to watch and we are happy to see him enjoying his football."
Tickets for Saturday's game against Hull City are still available. To buy, click here or call 0871 663 1878*.

Alternatively, visit the Park End box office at Goodison Park, Everton Two in Liverpool One or TicketQuarter in Queen Square.


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