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 By Mike Whalley

Martinez keen to reward Baines

Roberto Martinez has indicated that he will seek to ensure "top performer" Leighton Baines stays at Everton in the face of reported interest from Manchester United.

Everton's Leighton Baines will start in Moldova
Leighton Baines joined Everton from Wigan in 2007

The England left-back won the club’s player of the year award in May and was also named in the PFA Premier League team of the year.

Baines, who played every minute of his club’s Premier League season in 2012-13, has a contract with Everton until 2015, and chairman Bill Kenwright made clear last week that the defender was not for sale.

The 28-year-old has been linked with a move to Old Trafford to join up with David Moyes, who has left Everton to take over as United boss.

Kenwright also stated that the club will shortly start talks with Baines over a contract extension, something that Martinez is keen to see happen.

The manager told the club's official website: "It is very important and it’s [a case of] rewarding players who have been phenomenal for the football club, and I think Leighton is in that category. 

"The chairman is very keen to express that and obviously I’m desperately looking forward to meeting the players."

Baines created 97 chances during the season just completed, more than any other Premier League player - and the second-highest total in Europe’s top five leagues.

Martinez added: "For Leighton, as the top performer he has been in the last few years, it is important that we reward his work and make sure that he can look forward to kicking on and go into the next chapter of his career with Everton.

"That’s important for the club as a whole, not just the dressing room."


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