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 By Mike Whalley
Sep 13, 2013

Baines 'focused' despite uncertainty

Leighton Baines is an "icon" who will remain fully focused on success at Everton despite Manchester United’s summer bids to sign him, insists Roberto Martinez.

Everton's Leighton Baines will start in Moldova
Baines is a key man for Everton.

• O'Farrell: Indispensable Baines

United manager David Moyes, who left Goodison Park to take charge at Old Trafford during the close season, made a number of attempts to bring England left-back Baines with him.

But although Moyes was successful in capturing another Everton player in midfielder Marouane Fellaini for £27.5 million, Everton refused to sell Baines.

Sources told ESPN during the summer that the 28-year-old defender was interested in a move to United, which carried the attraction of Champions League football, but that he had no intention of pushing for a transfer.

Baines will take the field for Everton for the first time since the transfer window closed when Chelsea visit Goodison Park in the Premier League on Saturday.

And new boss Martinez, who replaced Moyes at the beginning of June, insists that the full-back is as focused as ever.

He told the Liverpool Echo: "Leighton is a fantastic professional and a top footballer. He’s an icon for Everton and now is the time he can concentrate on his game and enjoy his football here.

"In any walk of life, when new opportunities come along, people think about new possibilities or options in their career.

"That’s natural and there is a time for that. But my problem has always been that with the current set-up, the window remains open while games are being played [at the start of the season]. Now everyone has got to focus -- and Leighton is one of the big, big players we have at the club."

Martinez revealed last week that Baines, under contract at Goodison Park until June 2015, will be offered an improved deal.

Heat map depicting the distribution of Leighton Baines' passes during the 2012-13 Premier League season -- the left-back created 116 chances.
Heat map depicting the distribution of Leighton Baines' passes during the 2012-13 Premier League season -- the left-back created 116 chances.

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