Martinez: Baines' talks not planned
Everton manager Roberto Martinez confirmed that talks over a new contract for Leighton Baines are not yet planned, despite a summer of speculation linking the England full-back with a move to Manchester United.
• O'Farrell: Baines inspires
Goodison Park sources confirmed last week that Baines asked to leave Everton and join United ahead of the transfer deadline.
But Martinez has stressed that the 28-year-old, who scored two stunning free-kicks at West Ham last weekend, will have to wait to negotiate a new deal with the Merseysiders.
“At the moment, all we are thinking about is the games and any individual contracts or situations are put aside,” stressed Martinez.
“The only thing that concerns me is just to make sure Leighton is as fit as he can be and gets in a stronger position and balances the demands of England and club level.
“That’s what I’m focused on, that his day to day is perfect. Everything else, behind the scenes we’re happy with the situation and we’re making sure he’s happy as well.
“He is in a great moment of his career. In the last two games, Leighton has been sensational, probably because he’s been able to relax and enjoy his football.
“His contribution, to be able to score goals from dead ball situations is a massive strength in any team, and he’s in a moment where the next three or four years are the best in his career.”
Martinez also confirmed that Republic of Ireland midfielder Darron Gibson is set to return for the Capital One Cup trip to Fulham on Tuesday evening after a lengthy spell in the treatment room.
“Darron I consider fully fit,” added the Toffees boss of the former Manchester United star. “He has been working extremely well and has joined the group so that is a great positive for us.”
Everton will also have Romelu Lukaku available, the striker showing no ill-effects from the head injury he suffered as he scored Everton’s winner at West Ham.