• Premier League

Martinez: Baines can be Everton's own Lahm

ESPN staff
April 5, 2014
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Everton's Leighton Baines looks set to be on the move - but not very far as manager Roberto Martinez has set his sights on turning the left-back into a midfielder.

Martinez took Baines to Old Trafford on Tuesday to watch the Champions League quarter-final first leg between Manchester United and Bayern Munich, in particular Philipp Lahm.

Lahm is considered one of the finest full-backs of the modern era before being converted to a deep-lying midfielder by Pep Guardiola - who recently claimed the Germany captain is "the most intelligent player" he has worked with.

Leighton Baines has been in sumptuous form under Roberto Martinez this season © PA Photos

And Martinez sees a similar switch for Baines.

"He has risen to so many challenges," Martinez said. "He goes away with England and becomes exceptional. I'm convinced he can step up to a new challenge.

"He can be more expansive in central midfield than in his left back role. That's why I wanted him to see [Lahm] first-hand.

"It was a very good experience. When you are a player, you are watching the game in a different manner so it was good for Leighton to watch a player I feel he can be as good as or even better. That was the reason behind taking him.

"Leighton doesn't give the ball away. He's got a very low centre of gravity and technically he's as good as it gets. It's a role I know Leighton can fulfil.

"I'm not saying he is ready for it now, I want him to concentrate on being a left back, but overall I think it's important for him to have it in his mind."

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