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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League


Bryan Oviedo and Leighton Baines both believe they can play together in the same Everton team.

Oviedo deputised brilliantly during Baines’ five-week absence last month, the England man having sustained a fractured toe in the 3-3 draw with Liverpool.

The Costa Rican made six appearances during that time, one of which was at Old Trafford, where he scored a late winner in the Blues’ 1-0 win over reigning Premier League champions Manchester United.

Baines returned in the 2-1 victory at home to Southampton, with Oviedo keeping his place in the Everton starting line-up in a more advanced midfield role.

The pair have not been utilised together in the two games since, though Oviedo gave another reminder of his capabilities by having a helping hand in three of the four goals scored against Queens Park Rangers at the weekend.

Asked if he and Baines, who sat out of the FA Cup tie after suffering a back spasm, could be utilised together more often, Oviedo told evertontv: “Yes, of course.

“Over the last one-and-a-half years I have worked to play. I hadn’t had too many opportunities but now I have more chances and that is very good for me.

“I know I have very good competition with Leighton Baines – he’s a very good player and a very good friend – and whenever we play we need to do the best for ourselves because that is important for us and the team.

“For me, my best position is left-back but I can play as a left-winger. It’s a little a bit different but it’s more important to just play games. For me, playing in any position is good.”

Oviedo’s previous lack of opportunities had largely been down to the almost telepathic understanding Baines had struck up with Steven Pienaar on the Blues’ left flank.

However, manager Roberto Martinez has shown recently that he is prepared to shuffle his team when he deems appropriate.

Baines has no doubt he can develop a similar relationship with Oviedo, if the Spaniard deploys them both together in future fixtures.

The England man told evertontv: “Bryan has done great. He's played in front of me and he's equally as comfortable in that role as well.

“He's done a great job and he's made a great effort over the last few weeks to come in out of the cold and play as well as he has. That's great and we are going to need everyone.

“There are other players to come back and we have seen that the manager is quite savvy in how to utilise the squad, bringing players in and out. That will be important for the rest of the season.”

Tickets for Everton's home game against Norwich City this Saturday (3pm) 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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