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2018 World Cup

Distin: Baines deserves England run

Sylvain Distin says his Everton team-mate Leighton Baines deserves the chance to prove himself as England's first-choice left-back.

Baines, 27, made his fourth consecutive start for his country as San Marino were beaten 5-0 in Friday's World Cup qualifier at Wembley.

Regular England left-back Ashley Cole was rested for the game in order not to aggravate the ankle problem that forced him to miss last month's qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine.

Baines has established himself as one of the Premier League's most consistent performers, and although England coach Roy Hodgson has hinted that Cole will be restored for Tuesday's qualifier in Poland in Warsaw, Distin believes Baines is worthy of an extended run in the team.

"No matter what happened on or off the pitch, I believe Bainesy deserves his chance," he told the Liverpool Echo. "I've been here for four years and I've been impressed by him for four years.

"I can remember last season when it was time to vote for the Player of the Year and I think some of us were saying: 'I'm not going to vote for Bainsey again because it's the same all the time. He's the first choice, obvious.'

"The guy can do everything; head the ball, score, take a free-kick, pass - and his crosses are amazing. The ball leaves his foot for a cross and he's already back in the back line defending.

"He's a great guy as well. I'm not saying this because he's my team-mate - he deserves it."

Distin, along with club captain Phil Neville, is one of Everton's more regular Twitter users but said he would not judge Cole for his Twitter tirade at the FA, for which the left-back has been charged.

"Every single player is different," he said. "At the end of the day, it's about what you do on the pitch. For me, it's important to remember that footballers didn't ask to be role models.

"Most of the time they come from average if not bad backgrounds, and they're ordinary people with a lot of passion.

"I guarantee you that sometimes, when you finish a game, if you don't try to calm down before people come and ask you a question, you're going to give the wrong answer.

"I'm not going to judge Ashley. Sometimes what the papers say is very different from what you say."


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