Everton Under-18s boss Paul Tait has confirmed legendary Blues left-back Leighton Baines is working as his assistant manager on a short-term basis.
Baines has stepped into the position following the departure of Phil Jevons, who left the Club last month to join Sunderland as first-team coach.
Baines was appointed Everton’s professional development coach in September 2020, with his remit to work closely with young First-Team players as well as the Blues’ Under-23s and Under-18s squads.
He helps to ensure each transition phase for Everton’s young professionals is managed effectively for both the players and the Club.
Baines has now stepped up his work with the Toffees’ Under-18s group – and manager Tait explained how Everton’s emerging talents are savouring the chance to learn from the former England defender on a day-to-day basis.
“It’s absolutely fantastic for the players,” he told evertonfc.com.
“Obviously, Leighton’s role is to work across the professional development phase, and we felt it would be good if he could come and work alongside me.
“It would have been up to Leighton [to take on the role], of course, and I think he was keen to work with us every day and concentrate on one group of players.
“It’s great for the players, great for me – and hopefully great for Leighton, too.
“It’s worked really well so far. It’s coincided with us getting three wins from four, so he must be doing something right!"
One of Everton’s finest ever defenders, Baines played 420 matches for the Blues before retiring last year, placing him 13th on the Club’s all-time appearance chart.
He won 30 senior England caps and was his country’s first-choice left-back at the 2014 World Cup.
Tait says Baines’ experience of playing at an elite level for more than a decade makes him a valuable addition to his coaching staff – and also paid tribute to his football intelligence and desire to learn.
“Leighton knows what it’s like to play in the Premier League every week,” he said.
“He’s got that wealth of experience and he knows how players should prepare on the training ground.
“In terms of his coaching, what he brings is that detail – certainly for the roles of the full-backs and the whole backline defensively.
“He brings that depth of real top-class knowledge and he’s coming out of his shell in terms of his coaching, because it’s not easy when you stop playing and you first go into it. You can ask anyone, it’s quite a big transition. He’s in that stage where he’s going from top-class player to coach.
“For Leighton, he’s looking at getting as much coaching in as he can and as many hours with the players on the grass as he can – and he’s certainly getting that now with us.”
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