Baines remains in Toffees' plans

Full-back has a future at Goodison Park

Baines: Out of favour

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Leighton Baines has been assured he still has a future at Everton despite a disappointing spell on Merseyside.

The full-back fulfilled a boyhood dream when he joined the Toffees from Wigan in the summer of 2007, only to see his time at Goodison Park disrupted by injuries and the fine form of those ahead of him in the defensive pecking order.

He was handed a rare start, and his first of the season, at Hull on Sunday, but was swiftly withdrawn after a calamitous first-half showing left David Moyes' men 2-0 down.

There has been talk that Sunderland are willing to rescue him from his Everton nightmare in January, 18 months on from their failure to lure him from the Latics.

Attitude

However, Toffees assistant manager Steve Round is adamant the 23-year-old can claim a regular starting place under Moyes and has backed Baines to take his chance should he be handed another opportunity to impress in Wednesday's Carling Cup third round tie at Blackburn.

"He just needs an opportunity and if it does come at Ewood Park, he will be ready for it," said Round.

"He is a very good professional and when the manager decided to change things at Hull his attitude was absolutely fine.

"He has never moaned or complained. He has got on with the job and trained superbly and if he pushes himself as I know he can, he could develop into one of the best left-backs in the Premier League."

Mistakes

Round was equally as impressed by Joleon Lescott's attitude to being dropped for the weekend trip to the KC Stadium.

"He is not one to throw his toys out, even if the decision came as a shock to him," he added.

"He held his hands up and admitted he deserved it after making some basic mistakes."