Jags Hails 'Great Pro' Baines

Phil Jagielka labelled Leighton Baines “a great professional" after his teammate racked up his 350th Everton start - and then targeted catching him.

Baines reached the landmark when he was selected for Sunday’s visit of Chelsea, alongside Jagielka, who is himself only five starts shy of the tally.

The meeting with Antonio Conte’s side also allowed Baines to play his 309th league game for the Club, meaning he has now appeared more times for the Blues than any other full-back. 

Everton Giant Tommy Wright previously led the way on 308 and Jagielka says both achievements are testament to his colleague’s quality and dedication. 

“Leighton is fantastic, a great professional,” he said. “It’s not just his defending, he’s had a lot of goals and a lot of assists as well. 

“I’m sure he won’t make a big deal of it, knowing the type of person he is, but it’s a fantastic achievement and hopefully I can try to catch him.”

Ronald Koeman started with teenager Tom Davies and 20-year-old Dominic Calvert-Lewin against the Premier League leaders and Jagielka echoed his manager’s belief that the pair will have taken plenty from the experience

Second-half goals from Pedro, Gary Cahill and Willian consigned the Toffees to a first home defeat of 2017 and the skipper added: “It was a big game for them. I think they’ve had better games but that is all part of football. These games will be fantastic for their learning. 

“They didn’t look out of place, but then neither of them were Man of the Match - but you could say none of us were. It’s a great learning curve for them and, result aside, it’ll be a positive day for the young lads.

“It would’ve been nice not to lose by three because it you pick up a newspaper then you’d think we’ve been bad defensively, but I don’t remember Maarten [Stekelenburg] having too many other saves to make. 

“There is no point in getting too down about it. It’s been positive recently and we need to make sure we get those positive feelings back as soon as possible.

“It’s disappointing but we’ll dust ourselves down and we have to put in a good performance against Swansea next weekend.”

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